The Symbol Of Change In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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The scarlet letter, given to Hester Prynne as an eternal condemnation for committing adultery, is symbolic of change. While it initially symbolizes sin, the scarlet letter ultimately symbolizes the change and development in Hester over the course of the book physically and in the way that she is seen by society as she experiences cruelty from the people surrounding her. An, “ignominious letter on her breast,” the scarlet letter is initially seen as a horrible sin (41). Hester was a fine and polished looking young woman, but nothing could cover up the disgraceful mark of an adulteress. The letter was deserving of public shame, and even though Hester was not exactly a bad person, she was ridiculed and disgraced by everyone in Puritan society.…show more content…
The scarlet letter is an example of change. More specifically the change in Hester as a character. It begins as a shameful mark, but begins to develop into something different. Something positive for Hester. Years after the visit at Governor Bellingham’s, Hester often would visit the homes of people with broken hearts and sadness in their life. She would set foot inside their home and fill it with a certain warmness and tender feeling. Though she still wore the scarlet letter, “her breast . . . was but the softer pillow for the head that needed one” (123). She took her sorrow and turned it into a way to empathize and feel the people around her. Through this change in Hester’s character, the people began so say, “that it meant Able” (124). She is beginning to be seen not as someone of sin and not what to do, but how to recover from a sin and also a person that is able to do things and continue on with life. She is hardworking in trying to change the scarlet letter. Here it is beginning to no longer define her, but be herself and the scarlet letter is a simple detail from her past life. This is the transitional phase for the meaning of the scarlet
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