The use of symbolism in the scarlet letter

From this starting point, I would like to show how Hawthorne stages the interpretative process within The Scarlet Letter, and how this provides keys for the reader on how to read them.

As a symbol, the letter functions in the narrative on both levels, and it retains some of its primitive meaning, since the narrator experiences a sensation "as of burning heat" 32 as he The use of symbolism in the scarlet letter the letter on his breast.

Throughout the book, we see that the sun shines on Pearl quite often, but never on Hester. The modern aesthetic interrogation about writing, and about the role of the reader in the construction of a truthful meaning, unsettled Hawthorne's faith in his own work, but provided the modern reader with one of the best example of the power of art.

In Hawthorne's vision, the two elements are disconnected, and the ability of the symbol to convey emotions does not lead to any direct comprehension of its meaning.

But, as regards the interpretation of this, or of any other profound picture, there are likely to be as many interpretations as there are spectators. In all these examples, the meaning of the symbol depends on the context and sometimes the interpreter.

His cruel denial of love to his own child may be seen as further perpetrating evil. Giving up her individuality, she would become the general symbol at which the preacher and moralist might point, and in which they might vivify and embody their images of woman's frailty and sinful passion.

Symbolism and Imagery in The Scarlet Letter

But the most definitely romantic element is probably the mystery attached to the letter and the multiplicity of meanings it can be assigned. Here in the forest, she is free and in harmony with nature. Hawthrone vividly portrays this puritan tendency to look for a symbolic meaning in everything.

Paul thus phrases the question of symbolism in his second epistle to the Corinthians: Inside the good minister, however, is a storm raging between holiness and self-torture.

He will be able to give his Election Sermon and "fulfill his public duties" before escaping.

The Scarlet Letter

Because of its mournful babble, it becomes a kind of history of sorrow, to which one more story is added. In addition, the A also symbolizes things other than adultery. See ye not, she is the scarlet letter, only capable of being loved, and so endowed with a million-fold the power of retribution for my sin?

But Pearl reminds her mother that the sun will not shine on the sinful Hester; it does shine, however, when Hester passionately lets down her hair. Colors play a similar role to light and darkness. Hawthorne not only refuses the allegorical mode, he also endows Pearl with attributes that confirm the relevance of the romantic definition of symbol.

When Hester meets Dimmesdale in the forest, Pearl is reluctant to come across the brook to see them because they represent the Puritan society in which she has no happy role. The Puritans had a tendency to see everything allegorically. Some affirmed that the Reverend Mr.

Objects, such as the scaffold, were ritualistic symbols for such concepts as sin and penitence. This is exactly what Hawthorne says of his own symbol: Nighttime, however, is the symbol of concealment, and Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold at midnight, concealing his confession from the community.

This is where Hawthorne errs. It represents the sin of the person standing upon it and it shows the Puritan way of dealing with sin. Many people say that Hester and Arthur never committed adultery because Hester, in their minds, was never actually married.

The question of truth Hawthorne's use of symbol leads the reader to examine its capacity to convey a truthful significance, which questions the very meaning of writing in the social context of a religion based on revelation: The scaffold, for instance, is not only a symbol of the stern Puritan code, but it also becomes a symbol for the open acknowledgement of personal sin.

Her past sin is a part of who she is; to pretend that it never happened would mean denying a part of herself. The interpretation of allegory is finite, whereas that of symbol is infinite.

An Analysis of Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter

One must learn what the blindfold woman stands for, or to guess one must reflect upon her various attributes and relate them to the cultural idea of justice. At night and always with the physician, the letter is associated with darkness and evil; in the other associations, it is a part of nature, passion, lawlessness, and imagination.

Such helpfulness was found in her, - so much power to do, and power to sympathize, - that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. The narrator then feigns to be neutral and finally appeals to the reader to choose his own truth in the last sentence.

Here the act of adultery has taken place and here the two lovers meet once again and profess their love for each other, with Hester throwing away the stigma of the scarlet letter and letting loose her hair form the tight hold of her cap.

Symbolism and Imagery in The Scarlet Letter

I think this is what Hawthorne is trying to get across, but, as with the last symbol and the common interpretation of it, I think he errs in his point.

When Hester comes into the sunshine from the darkness, she must squint at the light of day, and her iniquity is placed for all to see.

She cannot see her mother without the scarlet letter. Moreover, the word "symbol" is often associated with the adjective "mystic," which underlines the idea that it constitutes a mystery that can be deciphered only by the initiated.But it is interesting to remark that Poe used the term "allegory," whereas Hawthorne preferred that of "symbol" in The Scarlet Letter.

This underlines a major inflection in Hawthorne's use of this type of stylistic figure, from the "Allegories of the heart" to The Scarlet Letter. Get an answer for 'Why does Nathaniel Hawthorne use symbolism in the novel?why does he use symbolism instead of other literary devices.' and find homework help for other The Scarlet Letter.

Symbolism and Imagery in The Scarlet Letter The scarlet letter is a Romance which has constant interaction between the real and the imaginative. It is through symbolism and imagery that Hawthorne tells his tale of Hester Prynne’s sin and her punishment.

The use of symbols is a distinctive feature of American literature.

The Scarlet Letter

In this regard, Hawthrone’s The Scarlet Letter is a pioneer novel for the use of symbols. In Hawthrone’s use of symbol in The Scarlet Letter we observe the author’s making one of his most distinctive and significant contribution to the growth of American fiction.

Hawthorne has a perfect atmosphere for the symbols in The Scarlet Letter because the Puritans saw the world through allegory. For them, simple patterns, like the meteor streaking through the sky, became religious or moral interpretations for human events.

Symbols Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. The Scarlet Letter. The scarlet letter is meant to be a symbol of shame, but instead it becomes a powerful symbol of identity to Hester. The letter’s meaning shifts as time passes.

The use of symbolism in the scarlet letter
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