[Abstract]: The Scarlet Letter makes the American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne
known all around the world. Hawthorne uses the symbolism so skillful that
it enhances the artistic effects of his work greatly. This paper researches
the symbolism in this novel from the following aspects: the changing symbolic
meaning of the scarlet letter, the names of the major characters and many
objects that are described in the novel to make the symbolism clear to
[Keywords]: The Scarlet Letter, symbolism
Nathaniel Hawthorne is considered to be the first greatest American
fiction writer in the moralistic tradition. His work The Scarlet Letter
that is notable for its allegory and symbolism is regarded as the first
symbolic novel in American literature. The novel revolves around one major
symbol: the scarlet letter. Besides, some other objects that are described
in the novel have their symbolic meanings. Moreover, the names of the four
major characters': Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger Chillingworth
and Pearl also have their symbolic meanings.
The Scarlet Letter is a novel
of much symbolic.
1. Different meanings of the scarlet letter "A":
1.1 The Changes of the Symbolic Meaning of the Scarlet Letter "A".
In this novel, the scarlet letter "A" changes its meaning many different
times. This change is significant. It shows growth in the characters, and
the community in which they live. The letter "A" begins as a symbol of
sin. It then becomes a symbol of alone and alienation, and finally it becomes
a symbol of able, angel and admirable.
The letter "A", worn on Hester's bosom, is a symbol of her adultery
against Roger Chillingworth. This is the puritan way of treating her as
a criminal, for the crime of adultery. The puritan treatment continues,
because as Hester walks through the streets, she will...