According to Andre Carson, a U.S. Representative, “People are always judging you based on where you 're from, where you went to school, how you look, how you talk. But at the end of the day, you 're going to have to look into the mirror and accept who you are. It 's all about being authentic” (Brainyquote). The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, takes place in Puritan times, where most people had strong opinions about religion and what was considered acceptable in society. Throughout the story, Hawthorne uses the symbol “A” to depict the suffering and stern Puritan beliefs of the characters. The “A” plays an extremely important role in Hester’s life. The book begins with the bestowing of the scarlet letter to Hester, which …show more content…
Receiving the scarlet letter changed every aspect of Hester’s life. Especially at the start of the story, the letter symbolized the solitude and great suffering Hester faced just because of a letter placed on her bosom. The “A” also depicted how no one viewed Hester the same way as before her peccant actions. “…she saw that, owing to the peculiar effect of this convex mirror, the scarlet letter was represented in exaggerated and gigantic proportions, so as to be greatly the most prominent feature of her appearance” (Hawthorne 109). The pejorative community Hester lived in never saw Hester as the beautiful, young woman she was, but now, as a horrible fiend. This dramatic change in views was brought solely by how the “A” represented adultery, which was extremely frowned upon at the time. Perhaps the most degrading scene involving the …show more content…
Furthermore, the “A” also symbolized many things in the community of Boston during Puritan times. The way the people treated Hester because of her sin revealed the strong beliefs of the community. It exposed how the community wanted sinless people and would not accept anyone who had sinned; even though everyone, including their reverend, was a sinner. However, the “A” did not always represent adultery as in did in Dimmesdale’s and Hester’s life. When the governor passed away, the community saw the same meteor as Dimmesdale but brought a much different meaning from it. ‘“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 past night’” (Hawthorne 164). While the community usually had the “A” be a symbol of horrid things, they did change their meaning over time. In the beginning of the story, the community viewed the “A” solely as standing for adultery and Hester’s sin (Hawthorne 56). With Hester changing her ways and helping the poor, the community changed, “They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength” (Hawthorne 168). While the community originally viewed the “A” as a symbol of sin, they began to see it too as a symbol of being “Able” because all that Hester Prynne had overcome. The Scarlet Letter had many examples of symbolism, but none were more significant that the letter “A”
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Ariana Malloy Mr.Nellis English 10 4/2/18 Beautiful Sin Everyone has been judged by society. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Hester has been judged by society since she had a child with a man she was not married to and for that society has punished her by making her wear this symbol of an A. This symbol was the scarlet letter.
Hester has to wear a letter A on her chest for her punishment of adultery. In The Scarlet Letter, the meaning and significance of the letter A is altered as the novel goes on. Hester, the townspeople, and Pearl all have views of the letter that change. Through their views of the letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author, reveals what his view on the letter is. Hester’s view of
Sin in puritan times was not taken lightly. Ignominy was how sinners were punished, and in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the protagonist Hester Prynne was no exception. She was publicly shamed, and forced to wear the letter “A” on her chest. Everything that was meant to be ugly in Hester’s life, turned into something beautiful.
The change led to the society change in their view of Hester. She had “so much power to do, and power to sympathie,--that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by it original signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength” (Hawthorne 146). The ‘A’ on her chest morphs its meaning to represent being able. Robinson, held his tongue for two years, but he could not, like Hester keep quiet any longer.
In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne is seen as a disgrace for the town. The “A” on Hester’s chest forces her to feel like she has no independence, since she is not seen like a typical person; she does not feel like she
According to them, adultery is the biggest sin and if anyone was found committing this kind of sin then they will be punished and have to wear “A” on their dress for committing the shameful act. In the novel, Hester lifted the weight of the scarlet letter on her shoulders because the Puritan community forced her to wear the letter “A”. This demonstrates the importance of geography and demonstrating the community’s religious viewpoints because of its place. If the story had taken place somewhere else then Hester would not have to through this agony. Geography is the device that makes the story.
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.
The scarlet letter ‘A’ did not stand for “adultery” anymore. It stood for “able.” “The letter was the symbol of her calling. Such helpfulness was found in her, —so much power to do, and power to sympathize, —that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength.”
However, as you dig deeper, you will see Hawthorne’s true purpose for writing the novel. In the Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses irony to criticize the Puritan ideals. Hester’s Scarlet “A” is used to show how imperfect the Puritans are. The narrator describes Hester’s scarlet letter when he says: “On the breast of her gown,
Even though the Puritans may have designated the letter as a representation of sin, Hester’s renewed sense of pride does not want society to define the A for her. Rather Hester wants to define it herself and by doing so she develops responsibility and power over her own actions. Because Hester has the power to change who she is, she also has the power to change what the Scarlet Letter represents. By letting the letter be “embroidered with gold thread” readers are able to see how for Hester sin is not something to be fearful of; furthermore, it allows one to see how Hester has developed into an independent individual who accepts who she is and the situation she is presented with. Hester’s lover unfortunately
Hester's divine beauty outshines others corrupt beliefs of her. While Hester walks stumbles out the prison doors and onto the dreaded scaffold, Hawthorne describes Hester as "the young woman [who] was tall, with a figure of perfect elegance, on a large scale" (40). Hester Prynne is being publicly shamed for the act of adultery she committed along with the minister who condemns her. She is forced to stand on the scaffold and beat the sorrow of he sins with the scarlet letter "A" on her bosom to represent her shameful acts. This mark of embarrassment serves a purpose to make her appear unrighteous, but the author chooses to focus on her beauty, which outshines this emblem.
Hester doesn´t reflect that when she wears it. At first, for Hester the scarlet letter represents the loneliness that she feels, the sense of guilt and how society is judging her for her sin. Later, however, she comes to terms with her fate and accepts it. This is when the letter “A” becomes something secondary because Hester finds the strength and confidence inside her, to a point where she refuses to take the scarlet letter off, saying that is has grown too deep in her. It has become part of
Most readers are entangle in the meaning of the letter A, only adulatory of Hester Prynne? No, it is not that simple. Firstly, the letter A is represent angel. Hester Prynne didn’t harbor a deep resentment for the punishment and abuses, instead of that she still treated nice and gentle to others. Secondly, it is able.
There are various examples of symbolism in The Scarlet Letter, but one of them wraps the whole story together: the meaning of the scarlet letter A. In this passage, Hester Prynne wears an embroidered letter A on her bosom as punishment. At first the A stood for “adulterer”, but the townspeople later gained respect for her and said “Such helpfulness was found in her-so much power to do and to sympathize-that many people refused to interpret the scarlet “A” by its original significance. They said it meant ‘Able’” (Hawthorne 107).
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.