"The Scarlett Lette"r written by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Essay by studly001High School, 11th gradeA-, November 2003

download word file, 2 pages 0.0

Downloaded 27 times

Symbols of The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter, a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, takes place in Boston, Massachusetts (Massachusetts Bay Colony), in 1642, during the time of American Puritanism. This is a time where punishments were more harsh than what we have today. Hester Prynne commits adultery, and her punishment is to wear an A on her bosom and stand on a scaffold for three hours every day for the rest of her life, along with her child, Pearl. She received this punishment only for the circumstances she was in, others guilty of this crime were executed. The Puritans were very straitlaced in their community, they hoped to establish a theocracy in America only because they were unable to do this in England. Hawthorne uses symbolism in this novel of the Scarlet Letter. The three symbols which will be discussed are the wild rose bush, which symbolizes hope, life, and new beginning; the color red, which symbolizes sin and shame; and finally Governor Bellingham, who symbolizes hypocrisy.

The wild rosebush is used to symbolize hope, life, and new beginning. For example, when the rosebush is seen outside the prison door the narrator says, "It may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom, that may be found along the track, or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow" (46). This was stated because if it is true that the rosebush will relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow then while walking into the prison, it would lift one's spirits. This may also symbolize a new beginning, because when people are sent to jail they have a new beginning in front of them. "The child finally announced that she had not been made at all, but...