Theme Of Light And Darkness In The Scarlet Letter

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Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter, wrote of how the Puritans were people who fought a battle between good and evil in their everyday lives. Hawthorne depicted this battle throughout the novel by symbolizing light and darkness. The sunshine, light, stood for what was good and right. Darkness symbolized the Devil and wrongdoings. Thus, this theme of light against darkness was seen throughout the entire novel due to various character’s problems with deciding what was good and evil to themselves and to the society. After it was discovered that Hester committed adultery and she was sentenced to her punishment, her beauty almost immediately deteriorated. Her hair was pulled back and hidden under a bonnet unlike its past looseness. The townspeople did not view Hester as an evil person, but her sin made her hide her light from everyone. The sun was used to describe the goodness and pureness a character has. Hester was never seen in the sun and this can be evidence that she was no longer pure due to her past sins. Even young Pearl noticed her mother's bashment from the sun. "'Mother,' said little Pearl, 'the sunshine does not…show more content…
Hester’s character was at first beautiful but, after she accepted her scarlet letter, she is pictured with darkness and shadows as well as her sin. Pearl was pure and has nothing to expose, thus being represented as only good. Even Dimmesdale found his light at the end of the novel only to have it leave with him following his dying breath. The deep rooted symbolism of light and dark were not merely imagery or superficial symbols but rather, integrated into the inner sphere of the book and can be related throughout the novel. The Scarlet Letter adeptly portrayed, thru the characters of Hester and Dimmesdale, how an individual's idea of what is good and evil can differ from that of society, thus creating a struggle between self and societal
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