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Use of Symbols and Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Project id 1015111
Subject area Biology
Document type Essay
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Usage of Symbols in The Scarlet Letter In many stories, symbols included by the writer add deeper meaning. Nathaniel Hawthorne is one author who mastered the ability of using symbols efficiently. The Scarlet Letter is regarded as a "symbolic masterpiece" due to Hawthorne's unique use of this scarlet letter, the atmosphere, and Pearl as logos. Among the chief symbols of this novel is the basis for the title of the novel itself. Hester Prynne's scarlet letter is connected to her gown, and appears "in fine red cloth surrounded with an elaborate embroidery with fantastic flourishes of gold thread" (Hawthorne 60). The letter is said to have "the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing her in a sphere by herself" (Hawthorne 61). The letter seems to be the focal point of Hester's figure, along with the townspeople obsess about the blazing red indication of her sin for a long time following Hester's ignominy. Hester's fantastically embellished red flag takes on many meanings as a logo. The golden thread with which the letter is embroidered symbolizes Hester's mockery of the Puritan way of punishment. A female spectator on the market place remarks, "Why, gossips, what is it but to laugh in the faces of our godly magistrates, and make a pride out of what they. Meant for a punishment?" (Hawthorne 61). The embellishment of the letter displays Hester's response to her punishment. Her strong will not only takes the challenge the Puritan church has put ahead of her, but she also laughs in mockery at it. The scarlet letter also shows the triviality of the community's system of punishment. Whenever Hester walks outside of her cottag...

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