Symbolism In The Scarlet Letter Essay

564 words - 2 pages

In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author presents three symbols that all reinforce the main idea of the novel. The main idea that reoccurred throughout the novel is that people don’t have to let their mistakes or circumstances determine who they are or what they become; it’s all in how one interprets life. Many symbols may seem as just an ordinary character or coincidental object to some readers, but the symbols have a deeper, underlying meaning. Although there are many symbols in this book, there are three that really help support the main idea: Hester Prynne’s scarlet letter, the meteor, and Hester’s daughter Pearl.
One symbol is Hester’s scarlet “A” that she wears on her bosom. She received this letter, specifically and “A”, because she had committed adultery in the Puritan town of Salem, Massachusetts. Hester had moved to Salem before her husband, who was supposed to arrive a few days later after leaving Amsterdam, but he never showed up for two years. However, Hester had become pregnant during these years without her husband, so it was obvious she was an adulterer. In this situation, the scarlet letter’s literal meaning was symbolic of Hester’s sin, but it later becomes symbolic of her self pride and growth. The Puritans despised Hester and her symbol for her sin, and shunned her for many years even after her prison sentence. Hester could have just lived a depressed, lonely life in seclusion with her daughter Pearl, but she decided to accept her sin and wrong doing to become a mentally stronger woman. During the many years of Hester being in prison and being rejected when she was released, she...

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