Sin And Redemption In The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne utilizes the scarlet letter as a symbol of punishment for Hester Prynne's sin and the ability of redemption. The scarlet "A" has many different meanings that can help and hinder the overall message. Firstly, the scarlet letter on Hester's garments symbolizes Hester's adultery and her sin in the Puritan Community, but she embroiders it with gold thread to show the possibility for beauty to emerge from her sin. She wears the letter constantly as punishment and a reminder for her sin. As the novel progresses, the letter turns Hester into an advocate for Puritan Society, because she becomes more involved in the community. In the end of the novel, Hester's symbol becomes a lesson and an example to other sinners. The letter embodies the self image …show more content…

Individually the symbols offer a well-developed message; however, the multiple meanings contradict, because the different meanings mean opposite ideas. For example, Hester will forever be seen as an adulterer and a steward. These are two opposite concepts, especially in Puritan Society, because a steward helps and an adulterer sins. As the scarlet letter changes through the novel, the symbol contradicts Hester's image and her role in society. Hester is scarred with her sin and the punishment from the Puritans. Hawthorne portrays Hester's perspective: "Hester had vainly imagined that she herself might be destined prophetess, but had long since recognized the impossibility that any mission of divine and mysterious truth should be confided to a woman stained with sin, bowed down with shame, or even burdened with a life-long sorrow" (274). The transformation of Hester being degraded to the Puritans respecting her actions is a confusing concept. It creates uncertainty of the character and the overall message of the

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