Symbolism In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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American Literature is drenched in symbolism, and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is no exception. In literature, a symbol is an object used to represent an abstract idea, and throughout this novel we can uncover a myriad of symbols; however, the main example is the scarlet letter "A" the heroine, Hester Prynne, is mandated to wear on her bosom--a corpulent, burdensome symbol that changes throughout the course of the novel. As the novel commences, the Scarlet letter "A" is seen as a symbol of sin, yet as the plot thickens, the meaning of the "A" transforms itself from sin and adultery to that of shocking and surprising meanings. As the novel commences, the Scarlett letter dressed in "fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread" (chapter 2) stands for adultery, and the heroine is forced to wear it as a mark of shame. Hester Prynne committed the atrocious sin of adultery, and the Bible states in Exodus 20:14, "You shall not commit adultery." She resigned to wear the scarlet letter without complaint. For committing adultery with a…show more content…
The letter "A" can also be interpreted as "Angel" because of how Hester and Pearl raised from the ashes of darkness to find light at the end of the tunnel. Another meaning to this symbol is acceptance, Hester accepted her place in her town as an outcast, and started to do more honorable task to help her community, she mended clothes and feed the poor. Her charity actions allowed the townspeople to see the angel in her not the sinner that they all believe she was. Another interpretation of the scarlet letter is the word able. Hester Prynne was able to look pass the hardships and give herself the respect she lost with her sin, the heroine was also able to stand up for herself, work as a seamstress and raise her child as a single mother; she was able to continue her life with the whole word averse
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