The Scarlet Letter and Hawthorne's Excessive Symbolism

Essay by soccergod13High School, 11th gradeA+, November 2007

download word file, 3 pages 2.5 1 reviews

Downloaded 13 times

The Scarlet Letter essay for every book that comes out, there are multiple critics that swarm to review it. Also the longer the book has been published, the more it is reviewed and studied more. Having been published for about 150 years, The Scarlet Letter has been read by many people and has earned a reputation of being a major piece in American Literature. Hawthorne wrote this book in an attempt to criticize his Puritan heritage as well as the hypocrisy the Puritans carried with them. Many critics continually praise Hawthorne for this famous book, but some Literature professors are beginning to look past the exaggerating stereotypes other critics have slapped on to The Scarlet Letter. While reading this book, it is obvious that Hawthorne uses excessive symbolism. Although symbols are a necessity in the creation of a mature novel, adding too many symbols makes the book slow to read, confuses readers, and is downright annoying.

Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is an instance in which this occurs.

Upon reading The Scarlet Letter, it can be seen that it is not an easy book to start and finish unless forced into doing so. Part of the difficulty this book gives readers, especially young ones, is the addition of unnecessary symbolism. Symbols are constantly added throughout the novel and basically cause the reader to over analyze the book. This causes the reading to be excruciatingly time-consuming. Also with each new addition of a symbol a description follows thus creating more text to read. For example, the addition of the “Black Man” in chapter 16 was not a necessary symbol, and it draws the attention away from the more important symbols. Pearl describing the man and, “How he haunts this forest, and carries a book with him,—a big, heavy book,