Color Symbolism In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

713 Words3 Pages
Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the colors red, black, and others to represent Hester’s emotions and the emotions of those around her. The most frequently employed color symbol by Hawthorne is Red. It represents many different unique things in the novel. Hester’s sin is judged by sin, not by actions. The red letter “A” that Hester was forced to wear on her chest for committing adultery was a major symbol. It represents sin; Hester’s sin naturally. The scarlet letter she has to wear on her chest is a scarlet A. Her scarlet letter, like her sin, is something she must always deal with and is something she can never escape fully. “But, on one side of the portal, and rooted almost at the threshold, was a wild rose-bush, covered, in this month of June,…show more content…
Pearl is the product of Hester’s sin. “Her mother, in contriving the child’s garb, had allowed the gorgeous tendencies of her imagination their full play; arraying her in a crimson velvet tunic, of a peculiar cut, abundantly embroidered with fantasies and flourishes of gold thread. So much strength of coloring, which must have given a wan and pallid aspect to cheeks of a fainter bloom, was admirably adapted to Pearl’s beauty, and made her the very brightest little jet of flame that ever danced upon earth” (Hawthorne 69). Pearl is as well called the names “Ruby,” “Coral,” or “red Rose,” and “a little bird of scarlet plumage,” further extending Pearl as a red representation of Hester’s sin. Pearl is the scarlet letter in another form because without Pearl, Hester would have never had to wear the scarlet letter and she wouldn’t have been humiliated and taunted therefore causing her to lead a better life. “‘But did the reverence hear of the portent that was seen last night? A great red letter in the sky, - the letter A, - which we interpret to stand for Angel For, as our good Governor Winthrop was made an angel this past night, it was doubtless held fit that there should be some notice thereof!” (Hawthorne 112). As the sunlight shines through a red and yellow window in the governor’s house, a red light shines throughout the room. This is symbolizing Hester’s passion spreading through the Puritan society. Red represents hope as well in some

More about Color Symbolism In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Open Document