Nathaniel Hawthorne definitely stands out from the most prolific symbolists of American classical literature, and knowledge of his symbols is what we need to understand what he wrote. In fact, a symbol is something employed to denote something else. Well, in the world of belletristic literature, a symbol often happens to be a concrete thing used to represent any idea more abstract and also broader in scope and meaning — often a religious, moral or philosophical concept or value. Symbols can vary from the most evident substitution of one stuff for another, to creations as complex, massive and perplexing as Melville's legendary white whale in Moby Dick.
An allegory in literature is a kind of narration where personages, events and objects boast a concealed meaning and are utilized to present some universal lesson. Hawthorne creates a good environment for the symbols of The Scarlet Letter simply because the Puritans perceived the world via allegory. For them, simple patterns, including the meteor streaking through the sky, turned to be religious or moral interpretations for human events. Objects, including the scaffold appeared to be ritualistic symbols for such concepts as a vice.
While the Puritans turned such rituals into repressive and also moral exercises, Hawthorne definitely turns their interpretations around in The Scarlet Letter. Apparently, the Puritan folks label Hester a fallen female. They also perceive Dimmesdale as a saint, while the disguised Chillingworth seems to be as a victim from their point of view. Instead, Hawthorne presents Hester as a female who represents a sensitive individual with a rich emotional world. Dimmesdale is viewed as a minister who’s not very saint-like in private, though morally weak and unable to recognize his hidden vice. As for Chillingworth, it’s a husband, the worst possible offender of humanity and also single-mindedly pursuing an evil objective.
Hawthorne's whole representation of the given personages is denied by the Puritan way of thinking. Closer to the end of the book, even observing and hearing Dimmesdale's confession, many Puritans are still reluctant to recognize what they saw with their own eyes. Accordingly, utilizing his personages as symbols, Hawthorne reveals the grim underside of Puritanism, which lurks below the public piety.
Several Hawthorne's symbols are good at altering their meaning, following the situation, while others are static.
Nathaniel Hawthorne definitely stands out from the most prolific symbolists of American classical literature, and knowledge of his symbols is what we need to understand what he wrote. In fact, a symbol is something employed to denote something else.