The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a compelling novel about the repercussions of guilt and “sin”. While this story takes place in a strict Puritan community, one can see the relation of Sigmund Freud theories of libido that can be compared to this novel because it discusses the passion that exists as a natural part of human nature which criticizes that community’s strict ways. Pearl, Hester’s child comes into the story at the very beginning; “a great law had been broken; and the result was a being, whose elements were perhaps beautiful and brilliant, but all in disorder.” (62). Pearl represents the innocence of the natural human desires. Hester named Pearl Pearl because she gave all she had for her and so she is of great value such as a pearl.
Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne’s scarlet letter is a hardworking symbol, it represents: adultery, sin, hard work, skill, charity, righteousness, sacredness, and, of course, grace. At first, there is no doubt that it symbolizes the sin of adultery, and Hester wears it as punishment. From the very beginning, she is not willing to let it dictate the terms of her punishment. “On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter 'A.' It was so artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy, that it had all the effect of a last and fitting decoration to the apparel which she wore; and which was of a splendor in accordance with the taste of the age, but greatly beyond what was allowed by the sumptuary regulations of the colony” (Cain 630).
This is demonstrated in the text “Those who had before known her, and had expected to behold her dimmed and obscured by a disastrous cloud, were astonished, and even startled, to perceive how her beauty shone out, and made a halo of the misfortune and ignomity in which she was enveloped” (40). The letter might be a sign of sin to Hester and the Puritan village, but Pearl sees it as something else entirely. The scarlet letter is both a part and a connection to her mother, for they both are the physical manifestations of Hester’s wrongdoing. After Hester takes of the letter, Pearl refuses to come to her. She refuses to recognize her mother, only coming to her after the “A” has returned to her mother’s bosom.
Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter has been read by many and interpreted in many ways. Hawthorne is one of the most known symbolists in American Literature and a study of his symbols is necessary to understand his novels. According to the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary a symbol is “a letter, group of letters, character or picture that is used instead of a word or group of words.” Hawthorne uses a great amount of symbols to deal with the sanctities of human heart, the consequence of tragic sin and the impossibility of running away from the consequence of sin. In literature an allegory is a story where characters, objects, and events have a hidden meaning and are used to present some universal lesson. Hawthorne has a perfect atmosphere for the symbols in The Scarlet Letter because the Puritans saw the world through allegory.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter deals with a plethora of issues not only prominent when the story was written but also prominent today. Some issues being: sin, corruption in society, guilt, revenge, hypocrisy and, above all truth. Hawthorne himself addresses the reader in saying, “Be true! Be true! Be true!
Nathaniel Hawthorne makes his view on hypocrisy clear when he states: “No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” Hawthorne makes it clear that man have two views: one that he truly believes, and one that he shows to the rest of the world. It is apparent in all men, and there is no way around it. Hundreds of years later, and hypocrisy is still present today. Whether it is a politician promising something that he cannot fulfill, or a mother yelling at her child for something that she has committed herself, it is clear that it is a theme that will forever be present as long as the human race lives. In the Scarlet Letter, the effect of judgment in the society was portrayed; which parallels the judgment expressed today.
There are plenty of symbolisms in the novel ‘The Scarlet Letter’ by Nathaniel Hawthorn. He uses symbolisms to add a deeper level of meaning in the novel. The first symbolism can be found in the very main actress herself who is Hester Prynne. Her name ‘Prynne’ which rhymes with sin shows that in the novel, she is a sinner and is seen as a fallen woman. She is demonstrated as the effect of punishment on sensitivity and human nature and as a criminal who deserves the disgrace of her sinful choice.
With the development of plot,the scarlet letter"A" represents "amazon". Because she faces the jury of church, showing her bravery and independence to the women who were away from her and the society. The scarlet letter "A" was artistically done in fine red cloth surrounded by rich gold thread. After hester got freedom, she has enough time to make diversified and beautiful "A" for different classes. A long time later, The scarlet letter "A" becomes a kind of fashionable decorates instead of shame.
The dramatic story really attracts readers’ attention, and what’s more, the meaningful themes of this outstanding work laid the foundation of its unique significance. The first theme I would like to discuss about is the sin of the three main characters, which is prevailingly illustrated in the novel. At the very beginning the sin is Hester’s adultery: a very serious breach of Puritan morality. Then it had its forms of Dimmesdale’s disguise and Chillingworth’s revenge. I have no beliefs in Christian, so Hester only appears to me as a woman who pursues her liberty and protects her true love.
On the other hand, she was her torture, too. Pearl made her live, even the little elf punished her at the same time. Pearl was the scarlet letter in Hester’s heart. 2 To her father Dimmesdale, Pearl is a mirror that reflects his cowardice. Dimmesdale’s sin was not adultery but not having the courage to admit that he had adulterated.