Symbols In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter In the Scarlet Letter, there are many different symbols that are all important. Throughout the story, some of the symbols are more pronounced and obvious while others are hidden throughout the novel. One of the most obvious symbols is the Scarlet Letter. The Scarlet Letter stands for adulterer in the puritan belief system. Hester Prynne, who had an affair with another man, had to wear a scarlet letter “A” for the rest of her life as a punishment. This was to publicly embarrass her and remind everyone in the town of her sin. Hester Prynne had an affair with the towns reverend, Dimmesdale, after she thought that her husband was dead from being captured by indians. From the beginning of the novel, Hester does not let the scarlet letter dictate her. She owned the letter and took control of her own punishment by decorating it. She decorated the letter and made it beautiful with gold accents while showing off her talent of embroidery to the whole town. As Hester grows and changes, the Scarlet Letter’s meaning transforms and evolves into many other possible meanings. Initially, scarlet letter meant adulterer, but towards the end, the people of the town begin to interpret it to mean “able” or even “angel”. Governor Bellingham’s servant even believes…show more content…
In chapter 19, the narrator calls pearl a “living hieroglyphic.” Pearl is also the most pure character in the novel even though the Puritan people see her as a demon. Pearl is a living representation Hester’s sin but the the letter functions as a physical reminder and soon becomes insignificant compared to the child. Hester built a new life for herself and basically changed the whole meaning of the letter. Many of the town’s people even refused to believe in the original meaning of the letter. They seemed to forget that the letter was there to publicly embarrass Hester and that the letter is a symbol of her
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