An analysis of the symbolic references throughout the scarlet letter

When she meets Dimmesdale in the forest in Chapter 18, Hawthorne says, "The tendency of her fate and fortunes had been to set her free. The forest is also a symbolic place where witches gather, souls are signed away to the devil, and Dimmesdale can "yield himself with deliberate choice.

The Scarlet Letter

Still later, the letter is an immense red A in the sky, a green A of eel-grass arranged by Pearl, the A on Hester's dress decorated by Pearl with prickly burrs, an A on Dimmesdale's chest seen by some spectators at the Election Day procession, and, finally, represented by the epitaph "On a field, sable, the letter A, gules" gules being the heraldic term for "red" on the tombstone Hester and Dimmesdale share.

However, the forest is also a moral wilderness that Hester finds herself in once she is forced to wear the sign of her guilt.

In Chapter 16, Hester and Dimmesdale meet in the forest with a "gray expanse of cloud" and a narrow path hemmed in by the black and dense forest.

For example, in the second scaffold scene, the community sees the scarlet A in the sky as a sign that the dying Governor Winthrop has become an angel; Dimmesdale, however, sees it as a sign of his own secret sin. Likewise, colors — such as red, gray, and black — play a role in the symbolic nature of the background and scenery.

What are some other symbols you noticed while reading the novel? Here Hester is hidden by the gigantic, magnified symbol just as her life and feelings are hidden behind the sign of her sin. She is the scarlet letter in the flesh, a reminder of Hester's sin. Nighttime, however, is the symbol of concealment, and Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold at midnight, concealing his confession from the community.

The forest represents a natural world, governed by natural laws, as opposed to the artificial, Puritan community with its man-made laws. It also seems to be, at times, the light of truth and grace. The Scarlet A Besides the characters, the most obvious symbol is the scarlet letter itself, which has various meanings depending on its context.

Like his sin it remains secret from the public but is known to him and to Chillingworth, who symbolizes the devil. Three chapters that contain a multitude of color images are Chapters 5, 11, and The sun is the symbol of untroubled, guilt-free happiness, or perhaps the approval of God and nature.

Even as the beadle — an obvious symbol of the righteous Colony of Massachusetts — proclaims that the settlement is a place where "iniquity is dragged out into the sunshine," the colony, along with the Reverend Mr. Wilson, who represents the Church, or Governor Bellingham, who represents the State.

He will be able to give his Election Sermon and "fulfill his public duties" before escaping. He often uses a mirror to symbolize the imagination of the artist; Pearl is a product of that imagination. The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread.

Darkness is always associated with Chillingworth. She is seen as a fallen woman, a culprit who deserves the ignominy of her immoral choice. When Dimmesdale leaves the forest with his escape plan in mind, he is tempted to sin on numerous occasions during his journey back to the village.

An Analysis of Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter

Yet, the very thing that makes Dimmesdale a symbol of the secret sinner is also what redeems him. But many of Hawthorne's symbols change — particularly his characters — depending on their treatment by the community and their reactions to their sins. Three chapters that contain a multitude of color images are Chapters 5, 11, and At worst, Dimmesdale is a symbol of hypocrisy and self-centered intellectualism; he knows what is right but has not the courage to make himself do the public act.

Hester has become more accepted by the community, and the embroidered scarlet letter has evolved into a "symbol of her calling," not just her sin.The Scarlet Letter's first chapter ends with an admonition to "relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow" with "some sweet moral blossom." These opposites are found throughout the novel and often set the tone and define which side of good and evil envelop the characters.

In The Scarlet Letter, the prison door really does work as an "A means B" kind of symbol. But mostly, that's just not how literature works. Instead, certain items, colors, and references gather associations.

The Scarlet Letter

Understanding the Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 2/19/ Some symbolism in The Scarlet Letter is obvious-. Hawthorne references these hardships in order to portray the scarlet letter as the forbidden mark of adultery.

Upon first meeting Hester, the scarlet letter is a symbol for adultery and disgrace. As the story progresses, the scarlet letter evolves into a symbol of wisdom and identity. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathanial Hawthorne made it quite evident that Pearl was a very symbolic character.

As we know, following Hester’s act of adultery, she became pregnant with Pearl and we get the sense that there is something strange and unnatural about her when fist introduced.

A summary of Themes in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Scarlet Letter and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.

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An analysis of the symbolic references throughout the scarlet letter
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