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Scarlet Letter Symbols

  • Date Submitted: 05/27/2014 03:20 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 56.6 
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Purpose as Described by Symbols
      Throughout this classic novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses a variety of symbols to express the purpose in crafting this well-known book. The Scarlet Letter is considered to be one of the world’s first true symbolic novels. While there are many important symbols that can be used to depict Hawthorne’s reason for writing his book, there are three that stick out as the most powerful throughout the entirety of the novel. Each of these symbols is very important to the book as a whole, and the understanding of the complete novel. Without an understanding of these essential symbols, Hawthorne’s masterpiece would not be complete. Despite the countless amounts of symbols that are present, the scarlet letter itself, color and its absence, and the rose are the most prevalent throughout this novel.
The scarlet letter was the most powerful symbol that was present from the very beginning. When this symbol was first introduced, the ‘A’ stood for Adulterer, Hester’s new title. This was the most literal meaning that the A took in the novel. Although the letter kept its literal meaning while the characters were being introduced and initially developed, the meaning changed drastically as the end of this book drew near.
As the novel progressed, Hester’s ‘A’ began to mean something completely different than it did at the opening of the text. People started to ‘A’dmire, ‘A’ccept, and ‘A’ppreciate Hester and the things she had done for her town and the people that were residing in it. Hester never meddled in any private or public affairs with anyone, which the townspeople rewarded her with ‘A’ppreciation. As Hester proved herself to the townspeople, they admired her strength to persevere through all of the hatred that she has received throughout this entire ordeal. She was also accepted back into the community bit by bit as she helped the poor and less fortunate around her even through her own misfortune.
      In correspondence with those around...

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