Scarlet Letter "A" Symbolsim

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the dynamic nature of the letter “A” worn by Hester Prynne can be interpreted in multiple ways. It is different for each of the characters in the novel. To Hester, the meaning of the “A” changes as time progresses throughout the novel, it is changed from a symbol of social outcast, to atonement, and finally to an acceptance of the burden. The letter “A” is first introduced as a symbol of social outcast. It labeled Hester as an adulterer who everyone avoids and talks about behind her back. “But the point which drew all eyes, and, as it were, transfigured the wearer, -so that both men and women, who had been familiarly acquainted with Hester Prynne, were no impressed as if they beheld her for the first time, -was that SCARLET LETTER, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and inclosing her in a sphere by herself.” (Hawthorne p. 49) She is an outcast from society and is treated differently by constant sneering at her in public. It is because of this one letter that Hester's life is changed. The letter's meaning in Puritan society banishes her from her normal life. The Puritans view this letter as a symbol of the devil. Because of her alienation from the puritan society, Hester has become fiercely independent from her isolation from the community. This indicates that Hester does not consider her “sin” to be really wrong but yet, she has still not truly come in terms with this letter. Later on in the novel, we see that the letter “A” symbolizes Hester’s atonement for her sin. When Hester finally leaves prison for her cottage on the outskirts of the village, we see her realizing the shame she feels from the sin. “Another peculiar torture was felt in the gaze of a new eye. When strangers looked curiously at the

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