Often times, we interpret a novel at its face value, only reading the text on the page instead of really delving into the true meaning behind that text. Since that meaning is not explicitly stated, different readers can develop different interpretations of the same text. This idea of repeated hidden meanings throughout a novel is classified as a motif, and most of the time motifs are used in order to subtly convey ideas to the reader through seemingly plain text. In the Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses motifs and symbols to convey subtle ideas, one example being his harsh criticism of Puritan culture. One of the most prominent motifs in his novel is the Black Man, an imaginary being who Hawthorne equates to the devil. Hawthorne employs
She vows to never reveal the name of Pearl’s father, however it is later revealed that he is the ever-so-respected town Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Hester is more than aware of her exclusion from the groups of the colony, even though she was working to rebuild her name by working and keeping busy, “In all her intercourse with society, however, there was nothing that made her feel as if she belonged to it. Every gesture, every word, and even the silence of those with whom she came in contact, implied, and often expressed, that she was banished, and as much alone as if she had inhabited another sphere, or communicated with the common nature by other organs than the rest of human kind” (page 108). The judgmental community that Hester is a part of, ceases to affect her actions. She refuses to leave, and raises her daughter the best that she can- with love, respect, without revealing to Pearl what makes her different.
“That first object of which Pearl seemed to become aware was,—shall we say it?—the scarlet letter on Hester’s bosom...the infant’s eyes had been caught by the glimmering of the gold embroidery about the letter” (99). Pearl, a sinful creation, was first aware of the mark upon Hester's bosom that caused her mother so much suffering. Hester dressed Pearl to look like the scarlet letter because that was all her mother saw. Hester mostly had constant contact with Pearl and the scarlet letter, thus Pearl and the scarlet letter became close. They became so close that when Hester took off the scarlet letter near the brook, Pearl felt as if though Hester had pushed Pearl away from her.
She was an outcast to society and would never be accepted because she was considered the child of sin. Hawthorne says, “...whose place was on that same dishonored bosom,...” (Ch 6, 77), this shows that not only is the scarlet letter symbolic to the adultery, but Pearl is also a lasting symbol of Hester’s sin. Chapter 6, Pearl, is entirely dedicated to the child and it is in this chapter the Pearl states, “ “He did not send me!” cried she positively.
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.
Nathaniel Hawthorne uses a multitude of imagery and symbolism to serve as metaphors for different themes in his novel The Scarlet Letter. The theme sin versus guilt, appears often throughout the novel. It is often accompanied by the symbol of the scarlet letter, serving as a constant reminder of the guilt each of the main characters carry, as a result of the sins they have committed.
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.
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. Hester acknowledges her sin in her puritan faith but swears to secrecy on the father of Pearl.
Throughout the book, Pearl is shown as a symbol of Hester's sin. In The Scarlet Letter, it says “But she named the infant “Pearl”, as being of great price, purchased with all she had, her mother's only treasure!”(Hawthorne 81). This is showing that Hester loves Pearl, but feels bad that she has to live her life being the product of sin. In the novel, Hester is always reminded of her sin and Pearl is the product of Hester and Dimmesdale's sin.
Hester lived alone with her “only treasure”, Pearl, after she came out from the jail. Everybody feel disgusted and shamed for her at distance so that Hester Prynne did not have way to get work. In the case, she started doing needlework to get enough food and did housework by herself. She didn’t feel hopeless but lived positively and also gave happiness to little Pearl. However, when readers comprehend the letter A in the book usually give its meaning as adultery.
Even thus early had the child saved her from Satan’s snare.” This passage further supports the previous evidence, and it suggests that Pearl will continue to save Hester throughout the text. Although some may say that Hester, because she is not very caring, should not be able to keep Pearl, they are mistaken. Because of her crime, Hester is learning many lessons which she can pass on to Pearl. “ ‘this badge hath taught be,it daily teaches me,it is teaching me at this moment,lessons whereof my child may be the wiser and better…”’
Hester’s life as she once knew it is gone, and her only consolation is Pearl. Hester loves her daughter more than anything, but worries that because she had sinned, that the result would not be good. Hester sees many of her negative characteristics in Pearl, such as defiance and moodiness. Pearl is constantly causing mischief, causing Hester to wonder whether or not Pearl was a human child. Pearl knew she was an outcast and was treated as so by the other children and as an “imp of evil, emblem and product of sin, she had no right among christened infants” (53).
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.
Adultery, Able, Angel. The Scarlet Letter is about a woman who can take a symbol that means one thing and changes it to mean the complete opposite. In this novel a woman named Hester Prynne had committed a sin of adultery and is forced to wear the letter “A” on her chest in remembrance of her sin. The story takes place in the mid 17th century in a Puritan town of Boston. The rest of the story is based upon trying to find out who the father of Hester 's baby is. The meaning of the scarlet letter and the way people view Hester changes throughout the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The scarlet letter was originally suppose to represent adultery and was there to show everyone the sin Hester Prynne had committed. Hester had to