Scarlett Letter

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In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism as a unique literary device to convey his views upon the reader and to represent major themes in the book. The most obvious and well known symbol, as it is in the title, is the Scarlet Letter that Hester is forced to wear. The infamous Scarlet Letter “A” is the best example of symbolism because of the changes in the meaning throughout the novel. In the beginning of the novel, the Scarlet Letter is viewed as a symbol of sin and towards the middle of the novel; a transition period is taken place, where the Scarlet Letter “A” is viewed differently. Lastly, the letter portrays the guilt of Dimmesdale, the father of Hester’s child. In the start of the novel, the letter is taken as a label of punishment and sin. Hester Prynne bears the label of the letter upon her chest and stands as a label of an outcast in front of society. She wears this symbol to burden her with punishment throughout her life, which serves as a constant reminder of shame. She stands on a plank where her punishment is given, “Thus she will be a living sermon against sin, until the ignominious letter be engraved upon her tombstone” (Hawthorne 59). Society places blame upon Hester, which changes her entire life only because of one letter. The letter’s meaning in puritan society is viewed as a symbol of the devil and it banishes Hester from her normal life. The letter also puts Hester through torture: “Of an impulse and passionate nature” (Hawthorne 54). This implies that Hester’s sin of bearing a child without the occurrence of a husband will always be remembered. In the central point of the novel, a transition period where the letter “A” is viewed differently than before is portrayed. For instance, Hester’s appearance is altered to where she is no longer seen as a person of sin. The letter changes from a symbol of shame and

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