Ambiguity in the Scarlet Letter

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Ambiguity in the Scarlet Letter In his 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s continual use of ambiguous and unclear elements allows him to “mingle the marvelous” and to give the book a certain air of mystery, permitting the reader to draw his or her own conclusions by constantly weighing the natural versus the marvelous reason for an event. To what extent can we say that the ambiguity and imagery are inextricably linked all over the story? Symbolism and allegory of particular events will be explained in a first part, and the study of Pearl’s meaning throughout the story will be done in a second part. To begin with, the prison door is described as having never known "a youthful era.” Yet, the wild rosebush that grows at the side of the portal is its saving grace. The rosebush represents kindness and forgiveness to the prisoners who must face either a prison sentence or a death sentence. The iron door seems to represent all that is strict and unrelenting in Puritan society, while the rosebush may represent the concept of "grace" or forgiveness. In Christian thought, grace is "unmerited mercy," that is, forgiveness of sins even though forgiveness is undeserved. Since the prison is a place of darkness and sin, the beauty of a wild rose bush growing in such an unexpected place could be a symbol of grace. Hawthorne leaves it up to the reader to decide whether the rosebush had survived out of the stern wilderness or whether it had sprung up under the footsteps of the sainted Ann Hutchinson. We encounter this prison door and this rosebush in the very first pages of The Scarlet Letter, and both give the impression that, even in a place of such cold and rigid laws, hope and love can be found. The Scarlet Letter Hester is carrying on her bosom, by displaying her scarlet "A", clearly appears as a sort of entertainment for the Puritan community. One of
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