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Scarlet Letter Symbols

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Nathaniel Hawthorne uses many symbols to add meaning to his novel, The Scarlet Letter. This novel was written in 1850 by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This novel is classified as a romance due to the events that happen through out the book. The book takes place in 1640's Boston. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses many symbols to give the book strength and power over the reader. Two symbols that Hawthorne uses are the rosebush, and Pearl. These two symbols help in the revelation of the story, from beginning to end.

Hester is kept in the prison due to her sin of adultery that she has committed. As she walks herself from the prison doors to the scaffold, the readers become acquainted with the rose-bush . This rose bush is said to be kept alive with history. Hawthorne says how he plucks one of the rose-bush flowers and presents it to the reader. "It may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom, that may be found along the track, or relieve the darkening close tale of human frailty and sorrow." (p. 46) When Hawthorne shows the reader the rose bloom, he point out that beauty comes with a price, but also it is next to the prison door. The rose-bush symbolizes the pain and joy that come through Hester's sin.

One of the most painful yet most important thing to Hester is Pearl. Pearl is also a very important symbol though the story. She is Hester's pride and joy that leads her through the day., but also her full time reminder of the sin she has committed.

"Therefore it is good for this poor, sinful woman that she hath an infant immortality, a being capable of eternal joy or sorrow, confided to her care,-to at ever moment, of her fall,-but yet to teach her, as it were by the Creator's sacred pledge, that if she bring the child to heaven, that child will also bring the parent thither!"(p.105)

Here Mr. Dimmesdale explains how Pearl, is the eternal joy and sorrow



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