Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter (1850), is a worthy allegorical novel in which a young woman commits the sin of adultery with a local pastor and gets pregnant, once the townspeople realize they punish her by forcing her to use the symbol of adultery. Light and dark symbolisms can be reduced easily to white and black, hence to good and bad. For Hawthorne, the interplay between white and black, or light and dark does not serve a mere imagery purpose or a descriptive one. They are entrenched profoundly with the intangible world. Hawthorne’s use of symbols in The Scarlet Letter serves as a mean to denounce the social behavior of the characters, such as the sinful soul of Hester Prynne, the troubled stand of Reverend Dimmesdale or the perverse
Hester was forced to wear the scarlet A and “It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself,” (Hawthorne 51). Hester feels extremely isolated and alone when she wears the scarlet letter, as she knows it was not solely her in this sin. Dimmesdale uses Hester’s suffering as a reason to not confess by seeing the negative effects it has on her. Hawthorne shows that this makes the pain even worse for Hester, as she is experiencing the punishment of this sin alone. This also forces her to become a single mother and raise Pearl alone. Hester cannot fulfil Pearl’s need for a father and tells her that she, “...must gather thine own sunshine. I have none to give thee!” (Hawthorne 94). Pearl is negatively affected by Dimmesdale’s silence, as she will not grow up with a father. Hester is only one source of income, and Pearl could suffer from this. Dimmesdale puts and innocent child’s life under his need for status in society. Dimmesdale’s masks negatively affect Pearl and
Hawthorne uses chapter twenty-two, “The Procession”, to put all the pieces of the puzzle of the conflict together. This is where the reader remotely begins to understand how the ending of the novel will come to an end. To reveal the conclusion to the reader, Hawthorne uses rhetorical devices such as, irony, simile, and diction.
Hester is accused of adultery, and is forced by the city magistrates to wear a scarlet letter A on her chest for the rest of her life. She is forced to wear the mark, living with the “pang of it … always in her heart.” (78) Although she initially tries to degrade the negative connotation of the scarlet letter by decorating it and covering it up, she grows to accept “the scarlet letter flaming on her breast” (118), and the letter only increases her strength. The letter, although not a physical punishment, affects her more on a social and emotional level, isolating her from society and drawing ridicule from townsfolk. Her isolation leads her to connect with only a limited few, including Mistress Hibbins, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth. More important than its meaning is the letter’s connection to the mark of the Black Man. The letter is a symbol of Hester’s sin, a mark telling society to stay away because of the awful evil she has committed. However, this letter A is also the mark of the Black Man. According to the “old dame[,] … [the] scarlet letter was the Black Man’s mark,” (277-278) , a symbol of one’s allegiance to the powers of evil. Hawthorne purposefully instills this connection, and forces the reader to more closely at the parallel. When questioned by Pearl, Hester sheds light on her letter, saying that she did “Once in [her] life I [meet] the Black Man” (278), and that the “scarlet letter is [in fact] his mark!” (278) Hester only internally realizes the connection between the Black Man and Chillingworth, but her claim leads the reader to understand the true relationship between the two connotations of her scarlet
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a novel that focuses on sin in the Puritan society. Hawthorne revolves the theme around the four main characters Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger Chillingworth., and Pearl. Hester Prynne is forced to wear the scarlet letter ‘A’ after committing adultery against her husband Roger Chillingworth, with the minister Arthur Dimmesdale. As a result an odd child is born. Dimmesdale never admits that he is a father of the child, and is forced to suffer alone in guilt, while Roger Chillingworth seeks revenge. Hawthorne is known for his incorporation of symbolism into his writing. One of the most complex and misunderstood symbols is Pearl. She is a unique character. Often known as the product of her
Throughout the passage from The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses Hester’s baby, Pearl, to illuminate the theme of beauty in a dark place. Once released from prison, Hester, an adulterer, becomes a public spectacle. Through this hard time, Hester has her daughter Pearl to soothe her and to bring her strength and hope for a better future. By using vivid imagery and juxtaposition, Hawthorne depicts Pearl as Hester’s happiness, light, and beauty during a sad and lonely time.
In the novel the Scarlet Letter the author Nathaniel Hawthorne utilizes setting, allusion, characterization and symbolism to support his theme of independence of a women who was able to keep her dignity even when people were constantly putting her down.
The Scarlet Letter has a lot of symbols throughout the book, a symbol is used to represent something. Symbols are used in literature, it is used to have a deeper meaning in the book. One of those symbols is Pearl. She is a strange and unusual child, but she is very pretty. Although there are many symbols in the novel, Pearl stands out because she symbols Hester’s sin, love and passion, and she symbolizes good and evil.
While reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, it is obvious that he uses a lot of symbolism throughout his writing to give the readers a deeper understanding of the Puritans and their views in these times. In this book, the community forces Hester Prynne to wear a scarlet letter on her chest to show her abashment for committing adultery and having a child, Pearl. However, Pearl is actually used as a symbol throughout this book to represent the physical embodiment of Hester’s sin, the repercussions of her breaking the law, and an unworldly being in the usual strict Puritan society.
Hester is accused of being unfaithful to her husband, Roger Chillingworth, despite his absence from her life for a long period of time. During one of Roger’s extended absences, Hester conceives a child born out of sin with Arthur Dimmesdale. Arthur Dimmesdale is a local holy man and is never exposed for his sin, while Hester is frequently mistreated, and eternally punished with a scarlet “A” marked on her clothing to represent Adulterer. Hester talks about wearing the “A”, and resents the fact that it may be pointed at as a sign of weakness. Hester says, “giving up her individuality, she would become the general symbol at which the preacher and moralist might point, and in which they might vivify and embody their images of woman's frailty and sinful passion” (91 Hawthorne). Hester dislikes the fact that the “scarlet letter” may be perceived as a sign of weakness, and instead learns to be empowered by the “A”. Ultimately, Hester actively made a positive impact on the community and proceeds to raise pearl, her child, without any assistance from Roger or Arthur Dimmesdale. Hester exemplifies her independence through her ability to maintain financial stability while raising her daughter and working. Hester eventually morphs the public's view of the scarlet letter into something positive. The narrator says, “many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength” (Hawthorne 96). In a time when women were severely oppressed Hester manages to the defy the odds and lead a successful and fulfilling life on her
By analyzing Hawthorne’s use of the juxtaposition of Pearl’s mannerisms and the symbolism of the weeds, it is evident that he conveys a disapproval of the rigidity of the Puritans, which establishes his blatant romanticism as an author. Preceding the following passage, Hester Prynne, an adulteress, is given a punishment by the inflexible Puritans of public shame in the form of a red A, which is then represented in the product of that sin, her daughter, Pearl. Hawthorne, after using the symbolism of the rigid, solemn trees and Pearl’s disdain for them, goes on to compare the weeds to Pearl; “...the ugliest weeds of the garden were [the Puritan] children, whom Pearl smote down and uprooted unmercifully” (Hawthorne 98). Pearl exemplifies wildness
Hawthorne uses symbolism throughout the Scarlet letter to display the sin and indecency people see Hester as. The detail represents ,the deep beauty Hester has inside although most people do not see her as a beutiful women. The deep red is a representation of adultery which shows her being an oncast from society. The symbol of the letter “A” is repetitive throughout the novel and grows with Hester and overcomes this with time as people start to see her as a person again and not just a adulterer.
In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne pinpoints various effects of sin on individuals within a strict, Puritan society. To shed a negative light on Puritan attitudes toward sin and lack of forgiveness, Hawthorne paints vivid pictures of freedom and imprisonment, relief and regret, through the juxtaposition of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, and the characterization of the two lovers.
Dimmsdale rejected Pearl multiple times, twice on the scaffold and again on several other occasions publicly. Hester had even rejected Pearl from Dimmsdale three times, once on the scaffold, again at home, and lastly in the forest. Hawthorne states “The world’s law was no law for her mind”(128). Hawthorne is showing that Hester didn’t care about the world's law. That maybe the world's law didn’t apply to her because she was in her own world. Each time Dimmsdale and Hester rejected Pearl from acceptance they also rejected her from her freedom. Hester and Dimmesdale's actions have caused their daughter to suffer a past an abundance worse than them. Chillingworth says, “ ‘Live, therefore, and bear about thy doom with thee ,in the eyes of men and women, . . .child! And, that thou mayest live’ ”(61). Hawthorne is revealing the main theme, if they shall confess then they can be free! Moreover, the late chapters of the novel the Scarlet Letter, Pearl is finally set
Hester is punished at the scaffold in front of all town people for three days. The way that Hester suffers is physically, because she admits her sin publicly and learns from mistake. For instance, Hester begins to help those people who are poor or sick. So the shame of letter “A” on her chest has been erased and forgiven by people, and it even becomes a symbol of kindness and hope. Opposite to Hester, Dimmesdale suffers mentally. Due to Dimmesdale’s perfect reputation, he chooses to hide his sin from people. As a young pastor, God’s words judge Dimmesdale’s soul deeply, and sin in his heart burns his soul wildly. The more people trust him, the more he agonizes internally.Therefore, Dimmesdale starts to torture himself with whip, and even puts a letter “A” on his chest. Hidden sin in his heart break him down gradually. Eventually, the stress and pressure in Dimmesdale’s heart lead him to death. In comparison to Dimmesdale’s death, Hester’s ending is way different. Hester and Pearl leave Boston, but Hester eventually comes back to town without Pearl. Hester puts on the letter “A” again, and she starts to help people deal with their mental stress. “But, in the lapse of the toilsome, thoughtful, and self-devoted years that made up Hester's life, the scarlet letter ceased to be a stigma which attracted the world's scorn and bitterness, and became a type of something to be sorrowed over, and looked upon with awe, yet with