Analysis Of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's ' The Scarlet Letter '

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Erika Bloes 11 / 19 / 15
Mr. Keating Block 6

Throughout, “The Scarlet Letter,” Hawthorne is able to enhance the plot by intricately incorporating symbols which represent a deeper meaning. One of which, is the infamous, and ambiguous, scarlet letter that lays upon the bosom of Hester Prynne. In the beginning of the book, the audience is immediately introduced to the scarlet letter as a symbol of shame and adultery. The narrator describes the Puritan society as very judgemental and harsh. Comments like, “This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die,” creates this negative and unwelcoming atmosphere which surrounds Hester for a majority of the book. From then on, the Puritans constantly refer to the
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For example, on page 51 the narrator says, “But the point which drew all eyes, and, as it were, transfigured the wearer--so that both men and women who had been familiarly acquainted with Hester Prynne were now impressed as if they beheld her for the first time--was that SCARLET LETTER, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself.” By so carefully embroidering this letter, Hester reconstructs the meaning behind the letter from criticism and sin to individuality and dictates how she wants herself to appear towards society. The letter becomes apart of her identity and especially her strength. Even though Hester could 've easily given up on herself, she was able to push through the criticism and create an alternate ending for herself and her child and this is represented in the scarlet letter and its beauty. Furthermore, towards the end of the book, the scarlet letter becomes a representation of the overall struggle that Hester had to overcome throughout the book. The initial point of the scarlet letter was to remind Hester of the adulterous act she had committed. However, towards the end of the book the letter “A” stood as a symbol of light. Even the puritan society reflected upon this symbol as relating to “able” and
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