"The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Essay by shutupkristenHigh School, 10th grade May 2003

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To read a book, is to plunge into a dark abyss, not knowing what is next and not knowing if or when an end is near. But just words written on paper do not do this to one's mind. A book needs creativity, imagination, it needs to make the mind think and wonder what is actually happening. A book needs to stretch away from reality, or just put a weird twist to it. One way of doing that is shown in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne uses symbolism to add a twist to his novel. Symbolism is a way of attributing symbols to objects, events, or relationships. Often symbolism is used to expand one's intellect and tickle their mind. Even if Hawthorne meant the symbolism to be perceived in one way, between people the results may shift, expand, or differ from the way intended. He used symbolism to have a greater general meaning to the book and to add depth to his characters.

In the Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses the colors of red, black, and white along with the contrast of light and darkness to symbolize Hester's emotions and the emotions of those around her.

The most frequently used color symbol by Hawthorne is red. Red is often used in novels to show passion, love, or sin. Red represents Hester's sin, as shown by her scarlet "A" she is forced to wear for committing adultery. Her scarlet letter, like her sin, is something she is required for all time to live with and is something she neither can nor will ever escape. As a Puritan punishment, Hester will be reminded everyday of the sin that she committed, for the community will always shun her. Pearl, the product of Hester's sin, is usually dressed in red clothing, acting...