Scarlet Letter

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Symbolism in the Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism in his writing to give subtle hints about the Puritans way of life. He uses symbols such as the scaffold, the scarlet letter, and lightness and darkness. These symbols are all connected to the sin of Hester Prynne. Hawthorne used the symbols to show how Hester and those around her are all affected by her sin. The scarlet letter is one of the main symbols Hawthorne uses in the novel. The scarlet letter is an A, which stands for “adultery.” Hester wears this letter on her breast as a reminder of her sin. The letter is mentioned numerous times throughout the novel because it is a constant reminder to all the characters of what Hester had done. Hester feels guilty while she wears the scarlet letter because she knows she committed an immoral sin, and the townspeople scorn her for it. Reverend Dimmesdale also wears in A on his chest, since he too was a part of this sin. His scarlet letter however was inflicted upon himself. The scarlet letter is Hawthorne’s way of interpreting Hester’s sin. The scaffold is another symbol Hawthorne used in the novel. The scaffold represents public exposure of one’s sin. Hester’s punishment for committing adultery was to stand on the scaffold in front of the townspeople to show them she had committed a sin. Later in the novel, Dimmesdale is overcome with guilt, and he too stands on the scaffold as a self-punishment. Hester and Pearl see Dimmesdale on the scaffold, and stand with him. Together the form a symbolic A, which shows they all represent Hester and Dimmesdale’s sin. The scaffold is the public reminder of this sin. Lightness and darkness are also another symbol seen throughout the novel. Hester is constantly seen in a shadow of darkness because the darkness represents guilt and condemnation. Pearl is shown in the light because the light

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