Scarlet Letter Symbolism

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A Sign of Many Meanings An Analysis of Symbolism in "The Scarlet Letter" Early American literature holds an important part in the history of the United States. There are many legendary writers who composed very prominent novels or stories that led to the shaping of early America. These same authors didn't only help with the shaping, but they often explained it, many times exposing the evils of society and the personal experience of the victims of society. To get their point across, many of these authors made excellent use of symbolism. Nathaniel Hawthorne happens to be one of these prominent American writers. His novel, "The Scarlet Letter," a story about an adulteress, her family, and community, is a book acclaimed for its heavy symbolism.…show more content…
Adultery is defined most commonly as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse. In our current way of life, adultery is only frowned on in certain cultures. It is often seen as a cardinal sin among many religious groups. However, in Puritan times adultery was punished much more severely than it is today. Early American history shows us it was punishable by death, public humiliation, or imprisonment. Now-a-day, it seems the most punishment adulterers and adulteresses get is some talk behind their back. Nevertheless, there are certain cultures that still take adultery very seriously and see it as a major offense (such as Muslims and Amish/Mennonite/Quaker). Adultery is viewed so differently in the current era to the point where it almost seems encouraged, especially among teens. In Hester's case, she went through public humiliation and imprisonment. At the beginning of the story, the women of the community very specifically see Hester's gorgeously embossed 'A' as a sign of disgust, showing Hester is the scum of the earth. The scarlet letter upon her chest greatly influenced the choices she made through the rest of her life. The initial symbolic meaning of Hester's 'A' is quite clearly expressed early on, when the town views her in such a negative light, as a
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