Symbols In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Good Essays
The Impact Of the Scarlet Letter Throughout the 18th century, Transcendentalist novelists used many symbols in their works. Nathaniel Hawthorne is a prime example, using symbols like he does in The Scarlet Letter. He introduces a character named Hester Prynne, who wears a letter "A" on her chest which is called the "Scarlet Letter." She wears this letter symbolizing the sin she made by committing adultery. This scarlet letter alienates her from society because people see her as a sinner, but the interpretation that the reader has of the symbols is what Nathaniel Hawthorne was trying to convey. In the beginning the scarlet letter started out as a punishment for Hester committing adultery, it also alienated her from society.…show more content…
“...Behold, verily, there is the woman of the scarlet letter; and, of a truth, moreover, there is the likeness of the scarlet letter running along by her side! Come, therefore, and let us fling mud at them!” (87) Pearl was a fearless child, "...She frowned, stomped her foot, and shook her little hand in several threatening gestures. Then she suddenly charged at her enemies, sending them scattering away. Pursuing them, Pearl seemed like a baby pestilence...She screamed and shouted so loud that the children’s hearts must have quaked with fear. Victorious, Pearl returned quietly to her mother and looked up, smiling, into her face.."(87) Even the young kids think that Hester should not be a mother. They all assume that because Hester committed a big sin she is an evil person, but she is not. She is a mother and because of her sin she now has to live with the outcome of the sin, Pearl. She is reminded every day by Pearls existence of what she…show more content…
She uses her innate strength to transform her punishment, and she questions the insane, hypocritical morals of her community. Puritan society, ruled by a set of strict rules, is essentially in the dark and can not itself see the light. The Puritans can not see the faults within themselves. Society is seen as a place where "iniquity is searched out, and punished in the sight of rulers and people."(50) An accurate comparison to this view would be the Garden of Eden. The Puritans see themselves as the perfect humans within the garden. People who become sinful "must be scourged out of the town."(46) Hester Prynne is able to see the light of truth when nobody in the society can. They have punished her for her
Get Access