The Symbolism Of Guilt In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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In the story of The Scarlet Letter, there is proven to be symbolism throughout the story. It all starts in the 17th century in a Puritan town. We can see from the names of the main characters to nature that Hawthorne is a master at symbolism. Hawthorne wanted to teach the reader to look deeper into the meaning of things to find out the real truth. In his novel, The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses Dimmesdale, burrs, and a meteor to prove that guilt will haunt you. To start, Hawthorne gives the biggest example of guilt in one of the main characters, Arthur Dimmesdale. He specifically chooses the name Dimmesdale because his life is dimming in effect to the guilt of his sin. Throughout the book, Dimmesdale feels guilt with Hester Prynne, the protagonist, and their act of adultery. In chapter 9, Hawthorne narrates, “...the health of Mr. …show more content…

Pearl, the young girl that came as an effect of the sin of adultery, is in the garden with her mom, Hester Prynne, when she sees Dimmesdale. Pearl notices some burrs and Hawthorne writes, “Taking a handful of these, she arranged them along the lines of the scarlet letter…Hester did not pluck them off” (130). Hester is leaving them on the letter, openly showing the burrs that little Pearl put on her. Suddenly, Pearl sees Mr. Dimmesdale and Hawthorne explains, “...she threw one of the prickly burrs at the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale. The sensitive clergyman sank with nervous dread from the light missile” (130-131). Burrs are very sticky and they are hard to get off you. Hawthorne is saying that the burrs represent the guilt that is sticking to Hester. Hawthorne describes “light missile” as a way of saying that Dimmesdale is refusing to let those burrs hit him and stick to him. He is refusing to let the sin stick to him as it is to Hester. In saying this, Dimmesdale feels guilty for not wearing his sin openly like Hester has been all this

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