The Symbolism of the Letter in The Scarlet Letter

The scarlet letter also functions as a physical reminder of Hester's affair with Dimmesdale. However, there is no comparison between it, and the other physical reminder, Pearl. Ultimately, the letter points out both the meaninglessness and stupidity of the community's system of judgment and punishment. God has sent Pearl while the letter is merely a human symbol.

Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter

Although her skill at needle work is greatly admired and is always in demand, Hester is not commissioned to embroider even a single wedding dress. Here needle work functions as a symbol, indicative of the attitude of the puritan settlers towards sin, guilt and penitence. It does not encourage Hester’s social reinstatement among the townspeople, nor is three any hope in the sight of God for Hester’s scarlet sin being washed off. The letter ‘A’ makes Hester’s social ostracism painfully complete. The exclusion of her needle from embroidering a wedding dress symbolizes the harshness of the Puritan attitude.


The most obvious symbol in the novel is the actual scarlet "A" which

The Scarlet Letter SYMBOLS Hawthorne s The Scarlet Letter Scarlet ibis symbolism essay

The Scarlet Letter essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Scarlet Letter by.


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After Hester is publicly shamed and forcedby the people of Boston to wear a badge of humiliation, her unwillingnessto leave the town may seem puzzling. She is not physically imprisoned,and leaving the Massachusetts Bay Colony would allow her to removethe scarlet letter and resume a normal life. Surprisingly, Hesterreacts with dismay when Chillingworth tells her that the town fathersare considering letting her remove the letter. Hester’s behavioris premised on her desire to determine her own identity rather thanto allow others to determine it for her. To her, running away orremoving the letter would be an acknowledgment of society’s powerover her: she would be admitting that the letter is a mark of shameand something from which she desires to escape. Instead, Hesterstays, refiguring the scarlet letter as a symbol of her own experiencesand character. Her past sin is a part of who she is; to pretendthat it never happened would mean denying a part of herself. Thus,Hester very determinedly integrates her sin into her life.

Pearl in the scarlet letter essay

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Scarlet letter symbolism essay

This means that an object must relate to the symbol and have a literary connection. In The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne had sex out of wedlock and as a result became pregnant. Pearl holds many symbolic meanings in this novel and serves as a symbol herself. Hester decided to name her daughter Pearl because she was her only cherished possession. Hawthorne says, “But she named the infant “Pearl,” as being of great price, –purchased with all she had, –her mother’s only treasure” (80). According to…