Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter // ErichMusick.com Essay

Throughout the novel, The Scarlet Letter, the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne makes use of a couple of key symbols to express major themes in book. The obvious and well known, as it is within the name, may be the scarlet letter Hester is forced to wear. Three other symbols would be the scaffold, sunlight, additionally the woodland.

In the first place, the main and influential sign in whole book is the infamous scarlet page, hence the title, The Scarlet Letter. Into the second chapter, Hester walks out of the jail, wearing the infamous scarlet page ‘A’. During the first several years of Hester’s punishment, the page ended up being a regular reminder of shame. In chapter five, Hawthorne writes,, “…Hester Prynne had always this dreadful agony in feeling a human attention upon the token; the spot never ever expanded callous; it seemed, to the contrary, to cultivate more painful and sensitive with daily torture.” While the story unfolds, though, this page involves suggest other items to Hester additionally the individuals. Instead of bringing torture to Hester, it sooner or later becomes a symbol for some individuals meaning “able.” In chapter 13, Hawthorne writes, “They stated it designed ‘Able’; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s energy.” A couple of pages later on, Hawthorne writes, “The scarlet letter hadn't done its workplace.” The scarlet page was meant as a punishment for Hester, and yet here we see it hasn’t punished Hester. Then, in chapter 18, Hawthorne writes, “Thus, we seem to note that, as regarded Hester Prynne, your whole seven many years of outlaw and ignominy had been little other than a preparation with this very hour.” Even though the scarlet page does bring pity to Hester, as Hawthorne writes, it's maybe not done its duty. Hester plans to skip city and return to European countries with Dimmesdale. If she had learned any such thing from the page, she'd have known much better than to run away with a man who was simplyn’t the woman spouse.

Through the guide, there are numerous meanings to the scarlet page. It means different things to various individuals – an indicator of wide range toward butler, interest for Pearl, shame for Dimmesdale, rebelliousness, revenge or inspiration for Chillingworth, and betrayal of one’s spouse, to mention a couple of. No matter, the real responsibility was to punish and teach a lesson, neither that the letter performed effectively.

The scarlet letter is just one of the symbols representing Hester’s shame and punishment. A different one we see at the beginning of the novel, at about the same time we come across Hester putting on the scarlet page for the first time in public, could be the scaffold which she stands after walking out of the jail. Inside second chapter, Hawthorne writes, “It had been, simply speaking, the working platform of this pillory; and above it rose the framework of the instrument of control, so fashioned as to confine the human being mind in its tight grasp, and therefore hold it towards the public look. The ideal of ignominy ended up being embodied making manifest inside contrivance of timber and iron.” These couple of sentences pretty much sum up the significance for the scaffold inside tale. The scaffold, like the scarlet page, towards the Puritans, is a spot of public pity for all those persons who opt to break the Puritan Law. It represents the sin of the individual standing upon it plus it shows the Puritan method of coping with sin.

Among the list of other symbols we see in book is the sun as well as its shining. Its value gets to be more obvious while the guide involves an in depth, nevertheless the earlier areas of the book are accustomed to establish its significance. Throughout the guide, we see your sun shines on Pearl very often, but never ever on Hester. Then, in chapter 18, we see Hester and Arthur chatting in the forest. After deciding to visit England and live as a family (Arthur, Hester, and Pearl) here, Hester will be taking off the scarlet page, to show that she is no longer bound by it. Hawthorne writes that after she had taken off the letter, “All at once, much like a sudden smile of heaven, forth burst the sunshine, pouring a really flood in to the obscure woodland, gladdening each green leaf, transmuting the yellowish fallen people to silver, and gleaming adown the gray trunks for the solemn trees. The things which had made a shadow hitherto, embodied the brightness now.” This is interpreted to mean that nature is pleased with Hester and Arthur (as well as Pearl). According to Natural Law, Hester and Arthur aren’t accountable, as they are no further oppressed. Because God has control of nature, he's pleased with them. Although i do believe this is exactly what Hawthorne tries to convey when he mentions sunshine again and again, their thinking is incorrect. Inside Ten Commandments, God informs their individuals it’s wrong to commit adultery. Lots of people say that Hester and Arthur never committed adultery because Hester, inside their minds, had been never actually married. Even if they weren’t, those saying Hester and Arthur aren't guilty would be incorrect. Elsewhere in Bible, Jesus claims fornication (intercourse between two people whom aren’t hitched together) is wrong. Even though sunshine is meant to signify nature’s, and, consequently, God’s, pleasure with Arthur and Hester, the thinking behind it really is wrong. The Bible states in Matthew 5:45, “… for He [God] maketh their sun to increase regarding the wicked and on the great, and sendeth rain regarding simply and on the unjust.“

This verse demonstrates because Jesus makes the sun rise and/or rain for someone doesn’t mean that he likes what they are doing.

The very last of this four major symbols inside book is the forest. Hawthorne writes in chapter four, “Art thou such as the Black guy that haunts the forest round about us?” This essay was copied from erichmusick.com without authorization. By saying this, Hester is continuing the belief associated with Puritans within the tale, who understand woodland as dark, or evil, whilst the place in which the witches get during the night to possess meetings, and a home regarding the devil. A potential interpretation of why the Puritans composed reasons for having the woodland could be they had been trying to keep consitently the individuals from the Natural Law – they desired individuals be subject to the Puritan Law. I do believe this is exactly what Hawthorne is attempting to obtain across, but, just like the last expression while the typical interpretation from it, I do believe he errs in their point. Once we talked about in class, Hawthorne attempts to make the Puritans look bad. (including, in chapter 21, Hawthorne writes, “Their immediate posterity, the generation beside the early emigrants, wore the blackest color of Puritanism, therefore darkened the nationwide visage with it, that the subsequent years haven't sufficed to clear it.“) The normal interpretation Hawthorne tries to get across shows that Natural Law (because noticed in the book) is corresponding to God’s Law, and that the Puritans have actually all their values mixed up and they’re wrong. This is when Hawthorne errs. In fact, Puritan Law is nearer to God’s legislation than is Natural Law, once we notice it into the book. The Puritans base their law on God’s Law, but the Natural Law portrayed within the book isn’t predicated on God’s law.

To summarize, Hawthorne makes use of a few symbols to portray themes and ideas inside novel. All these has typical interpretations, lots of which aren’t totally accurate.

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