What Does The Meteor Symbolize In The Scarlet Letter

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Symbolism in The Scarlett Letter The Scarlett Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is unique based on a plethora of symbols and motifs. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne applies these symbols to represent the central themes in the novel. As one of the most creative symbolists in American Literature, understanding Hawthorne requires an in depth analysis of his symbols in order to grasp them accurately. Generally speaking, a symbol is a literary device that contains several layers of meaning, often concealed at first sight, and is representative of several other aspects, concepts or traits than those that are visible in the literal translation alone [1]. In other words, symbolism is the use of an object that has further layers of interpretation. As in the title, the scarlet letter “A” is the most prominent symbol in this story, in addition to the scaffold and the meteor. The most dominant and influential factor, which Hawthorne utilizes in this novel, is the protuberant letter “A” tracing Hester’s bosom. Hester, the main character, is a contrite young woman who committed adultery amongst the perfect Puritan society in the Massachusetts Bay Colony with a man named Arthur Dimmesdale. The Puritans intention for Hester to portray the symbolic scarlet letter is a shameful reminder of her sin. However, Hawthorne labels the letter…show more content…
As Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold alongside Hester and her baby Pearl, a meteor scripts out an “A” in the night sky. Dimmesdale interprets this as a message from God that he should, too, wear a scarlet letter “A” across his chest. However the rest of the community perceives it otherwise. They think it stands for “Angel,” representing recently deceased Governor Winthrop and his proclamation to be an angel in heaven. Is this simply a supernatural phenomenon in a historical romantic fiction novel or does Hawthorne truly have some paranormal latent meaning behind the meteor’s
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