Preview
Preview

Symbols and Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter Essay

No Works Cited
Length: 942 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Yellow      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter

 

 

     The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is generally considered to

be the first American symbolic novel.  A symbol is something which is used

to represent something broader in meaning.

 

 

     The most obvious symbol in the novel is the actual scarlet "A" which

both the criticism and I agree upon.  This "A" is the literal symbol of the

sin of adultery.  The letter A then appears in many different forms

throughout the novel. The gold-embroidered A on Hester Prynne's fascinates

Pearl Prynne. It is magnified in the armor breast plate at Governor

Bellingham's mansion which is so extreme that it  seems to hide and cover

Hester.  On the night of Arthur Dimmesdale vigil, he sees a red A in the

sky.  And finally,  the letter is revealed on Dimmsdale's chest in front of

the whole village.

 

 

     The A also takes on many meanings.   It has the original meaning as

well as different meanings to various characters.  To Hester, the A means

humiliation.  The A to Dimmesdale is a reminder of his own contrition. To

Pearl, the A is peculiarity and Roger Chillingworth sees the A as a journey

for retaliation.  Other then adultery, the A can also stand for "Angel" and

"Able".  Angel, for it appears in the sky after Governor Winthrop's death.

Able, for Hester has won the respect of the Puritans even if she has sinned

terribly.

 

 

     Hawthorne uses the prison building to describe crime and punishment in

contrast with the tombstone at the end of ...


... middle of paper ...


...t price is Hester's reputation

and her standing in the community.  Pearl is also a self-contained  symbol.

The result of her parent's sin is shown in her often imprudent comments and

unbridled behavior.

 

 

     Each character in the novel suffers from a sin which they try to

crush and bemoan with goodness from their own heart.

 

 

     The Scarlet Letter is a book filled with symbolism.  I feel the

symbolism helps to relate a situation to a position the reader knows about.

 The critic which I based this on feels that there is voluminous accounts

of symbolism, even too much.  I must disagree with this.  Hawthorne's The

Scarlet Letter is an amazingly written book for its time with just the

right amount of powerful symbolism.

 

 


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Symbols and Symbolism - The Letter A in The Scarlet Letter Essay - The Symbolism of the Letter in The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter includes many profound and important symbols. This device of symbolism is portrayed well in the novel, especially through the scarlet letter "A". The "A" is the best example because of the changes in the meaning throughout the novel. In the beginning of the novel, the scarlet letter "A" is viewed as a symbol of sin. The middle of the novel is a transition period, where the scarlet letter "A" is viewed differently....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays] 1531 words
(4.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Symbols and Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter Essay - Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is generally considered to be the first American symbolic novel. A symbol is something which is used to represent something broader in meaning. The most obvious symbol in the novel is the actual scarlet "A" which both the criticism and I agree upon. This "A" is the literal symbol of the sin of adultery. The letter A then appears in many different forms throughout the novel. The gold-embroidered A on Hester Prynne's fascinates Pearl Prynne....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays] 942 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Symbols and Symbolism in Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter Essay - Nathaniel Hawthorne. The name strikes fear in the hearts of high school students everywhere because Hawthorne's 'wordy' novels, especially his 1849 The Scarlet Letter, have been at the top of English classes' required reading lists for years and will continue to be for years to come. In general, students have grown accustomed to superficial analyses of books, which encompasses reading and regurgitating 'literary facts' on multiple choice tests. However, when reading engaging, well-written, stylistic and ambiguous novels, such as The Scarlet Letter, one must go deeper and actually examine the novel and the elements that the author so effectively uses....   [tags: Free Scarlet Letter Essays] 1010 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Powerful Symbols and Symbolism of The Scarlet Letter - The Powerful Symbol of the Scarlet Letter       In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne's scarlet token liberates her more than it punishes her.  First of all, Hester's soul is freed by her admission of her crime; by enduring her earthly punishment, Hester is assured of a place in the heavens.  Also, though her appearance is much hampered by the scarlet letter, her mind is freed by it, that an intellectual passion rises from her isolation and suffering.  Finally, it defines her identity, for the letter makes Hester the woman that she is; it gives her roots, character, and a uniqueness to her being that sets her apart from the other Puritans.  The...   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
1430 words
(4.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Symbols and Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter - Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter      Carl Jung believed that the source of symbols is universal. Symbols arise from the collective unconscious common to all humans everywhere. Joseph Campbell's research supports this theory; he traces universal archetypes through the stories, myths, and artwork of various cultures. While most work done with symbolism has focused on the universality of symbols, Nathaniel Hawthorn focuses on their personal, subjective meanings.   A universal symbol arises from the symbol's relationship to reality; thus, such a symbol remains the same across cultures and with different individuals....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
575 words
(1.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Symbols and Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Essay - Symbolism  in The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne isn't noted for perfecting any famous literary style, for writing multiple best sellers, or even for contributing largely to classic American literature.  His only real claim to fame is The Scarlet Letter: a novel that was originally only meant to be yet another Hawthorne short story.  Because of this, it actually possesses many short story characteristics.  "It is simpler and more complete than his other novels." (James 285)  It also has an excellent plot backed by an expert use of literary techniques.  One technique Hawthorne used was borrowed solely from drama: the use of the aside.  Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale delivers an aside in the...   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
1172 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay Symbols and Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter - Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the theme revolves around a sin that has been committed. It takes places in the seventeenth century in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Hester Prynne, who had an affair with the local Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, commits the sin. Roger Chillingworth is Hester's husband while the affair is taking place. Because of the affair, Hester and Arthur have a daughter named Pearl. The sin that Hester commits is adultery. Hawthorne uses a variety of symbols throughout The Scarlet Letter, and he symbolizes the scarlet letter "A" in several ways....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays] 717 words
(2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Symbols and Symbolism in Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter - The Symbol of Pearl - The Symbol of Pearl In Nathaniel Hawthorne's, The Scarlet Letter, Pearl, is the human symbol of the sin of adultery in the fact that she leads her mother, Hester Prynne, and Arthur Dimmesdale to accept and admit to their sin. Pearl is the beautiful daughter of Hester and Dimmesdale. She is the living symbol of the scarlet letter and has unique traits that make her sometimes appear as a demon. Her love for nature and freedom, her spirit, her wildness, her loneliness and separation from the world, her curiosity, and her innocent but symbolic comments reveal her distinct personality....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays] 1035 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Power of Symbols and Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter - The Power of the Symbol in The Scarlet Letter All classic literature uses symbolism in one way or another. Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter is no different. The very basis of every character, their personal appearance and way they act revolves around one thing, the Scarlet Letter. The scarlet letter is an "A", in crimson fabric, worn by a Puritan woman for her act of adultery. Its very existence is solely to cause shame and remorse on Hester Prynne and her daughter Pearl, who was conceived in her lust, but it comes to stand for so much more....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1835 words
(5.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Symbols and Symbolism Essay - Use of Symbols in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter - Use of Symbols in The Scarlet Letter In World Book Dictionary, a symbol is defined as something that stands for or represents something else, especially an idea, quality, or condition. Symbols can be objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent ideas or concepts. In the novel The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, there are many symbols that are throughout the novel. While symbols can be created, such created symbols are subjective and must be given meaning within their context and because the context is different among individuals and societies and can vary over time....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays] 850 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]