Chapter 16 Symbolism In The Scarlet Letter

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In Chapters Fifteen and Sixteen, of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester recognizes her true hatred of Chillingworth just before she finds Pearl, playing at the beach, and creating a green letter A on her own chest out of seaweed. Later, Hester goes to hopefully “run into” Dimmesdale in the forest to reveal to him the truth about Chillingworth’s identity. Pearl comes along, and as they wait, she curiously asks her mother about the Black Man. When Pearl sees Dimmesdale’s figure appear in the distance, she asks whether the approaching person is in fact the Black Man himself, which Hester rejects. Pearl, however, ponders if Dimmesdale clutches his heart, as he does, because the Black Man has left his mark on him, similar to how the …show more content…

In fact, Chapter 16 is practically void of any text that couldn’t be analyzed as some form of symbol. Hawthorne develops numerous images especially that of the contrasting light and darkness and their relationships with Pearl and Hester, and how it thematically separates them. “The sunshine does not love you - it runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom...let me run and catch it - I am but a child - it will not flee from me, for I wear nothing on my bosom yet” is a quote coming from Pearl in Chapter 16 which really shows Hawthorne’s emphasis on how “light” contrasts Pearl from her mother. Symbolically speaking, this represents the purity and innocence that separates Pearl from her sinful mother. This difference between the two is seen to be developed by Hawthorne earlier in Chapter 15 as well. “Pearl took some eelgrass, and … imitated, on her own bosom, the decoration… on her mother’s : A letter “A”, but freshly green, instead of scarlet!”, a quote pulled from Chapter 15, is another attempt by Hawthorne to convey the contrasting ideal of Pearl’s innocence and purity to Hester’s sin. The green of this imitated scarlet letter worn by Pearl is associated with nature and purity, while the scarlet of Hester’s original letter is typically associated with passion and

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