Weather Symbolism In Scarlet Letter

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Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter “A true symbol is substantial, not accidental. You cannot avoid it; you cannot remove it.” - Saul Bellow, Nobel Prize winner in Literature. Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter, does an excellent job of using symbolism to clarify serious ideas in his novel. An example of Hawthorne’s use of symbolism would be his placement of sunshine, which symbolizes happiness, throughout the novel. By strategically placing this throughout the novel, readers can start to see how Hawthorne is hinting at the fact that to be happy you must be true to yourself. Hawthorne uses the characters Pearl, Dimmesdale and Hester to help readers to this conclusion. When reading through The Scarlet Letter, there are many…show more content…
From the time after the first scaffold scene until the scene with Hester and Dimmesdale in the forest, Hester is never said to be in the sunshine or even compared to sunshine. This is because after stepping into the sunshine upon leaving the prison door, Hester covers herself up, hiding her true self. She does this by wearing her hair up in a cap and wearing thick, heavy dresses. Her dresses were even described as “the coarsest materials and the most sombre hue” (Chapter 5; 57). Everything around her seems to be dark and grey. Upon meeting Dimmesdale in the forest the narrator describes the scene using words such as “gray twilight”, “clouded sky”, and “darkened the noontide” (Chapter 17; 130). Hawthorne even goes as far as to add Pearl saying’ “Mother the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom” and as Hester tries to reach for some of the sunlight, it vanishes ( Chapter 16; 126). Then, after she decides to run away with Dimmesdale to start a new life, she takes her hair down and throws the A off her chest and suddenly the narrator describes the forest lighting up and the sunlight radiating off Dimmesdale as well as Hester. While this lasts for a few minutes, as soon as Pearl makes Hester put the A back on chest Hawthorne writes, “her beauty, the warmth and richness of her womanhood, departed, like fading sunshine; and a gray shadow

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