Symbols In The Scarlet Letter Essay

461 Words2 Pages
This essay will discuss how the symbol “A” or the Scarlet Letter is represented in three different interpretations in the novel.
In the novel The Scarlet Letter the letter “A” was originally intended to be a punishment for the main character Hester Prynne. She committed adultery as was branded with the “A” as public humiliation. Although she was branded as an adulteress, she continued to help others. Her good deeds toward others changed the letter “A” from Adulteress to Able as she was able to assist others. She continued to help others and began to feel good about herself. Finally, after an “A” appeared in the night sky, the townspeople believed they had witnessed an act of divine intervention and labeled the “A” as an Angel.
The first
…show more content…
Hester starts helping the poor in her community. Her kindness and compassion towards other convince people to believe that the “A” stands for Able. A stranger says “It is our Hester, - the towns own Hester, - who is so kind to the poor, so helpful to the sick, so comfortable to the afflicted.” (Ch.13 Pg.134)
The final interpretation of the letter “A” is that of an Angel. One evening a light gleaned far and wide over the evening sky. In that light from a meteor that form a large and clearly visible red “A” across the sky. These meteoric appearances in those day were often viewed as acts of divine intervention. The old sexton smiling asked the minister “But did your reverence hear of the portent that was seen last night? A great red letter in the sky, - the letter A, - which we interpret to stand for Angel. For as our good Governor Winthrop was made an angel this pas night, it was doubtless held fit that there should be some notice thereof!” (Ch.12 Pg.131)
As you can see that the Scarlet Letter “A” has three different interpretations. It can be viewed as a punishment, public humiliation. It can also be seen as Able, as someone who is willing and able to help others. Finally, the red letter A can be seen as to signify Angel, as an act of divine intervention drew a red A across the night
Open Document