The symbols used in the "Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Essay by NoTTiNzZz December 2004

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The Scarlet Letter is a classic novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of the more famous authors. Nathaniel Hawthorne writes about Puritans, their lives, and beliefs. The story begins in 17th century Boston. In the beginning of the story, Hester Prynne, an adulterer and the main character of this story, is led from the town prison to a scaffold, where she is to stand and made an example of to those who sin. In her arms, she bears Pearl, her illegitimate child. Hester's legal husband, Chillingworth, stands in the crowd and discovers that his wife is an adulterer. Throughout the book, the author takes the reader through the many conflicts and problems of Hester Prynne. Meanwhile, Chillingworth, the antagonist, aims to find the identity of the father of Pearl. The author uses many symbols, throughout "The Scarlet Letter."

The rosebush is one of the more common and easily spotted among the many symbols.

A rosebush is a shrub that produces roses; one of nature's many elegant flowers, grows next to a prison door. The prison door and the surrounding area are places that are infested with "evil" because a prison is a building or structure that holds those who sinned and the "evil." The rosebush is a sign of good because of its beauty. The rosebush represents "good" in an "evil" environment overcoming "bad." The rosebush, being one of Nature's products, symbolizes Nature's sympathy for the damned or those who sinned. It could be interpreted as hope in the damned. The rosebush is introduced in the first chapter - The Prison Door.

Throughout the story, the rosebush is used constantly. Another instance in where the rosebush is used is when Pearl and Hester are at the Governor's garden. In the present world, a rose or rosebush...