Psychoanalytic Analysis : ' The Scarlet Letter '

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Psychoanalytical Analysis Throughout The Scarlet Letter there are many Freudian symbolisms that can be found scattered throughout this American classic. In nearly every chapter there is at least one reference to a phallic or yonic symbols to demonstrate the longing for a male figure in both Pearl and Hester’s life, and the symbolism to depict the shift from id to ego. One of the earlier metaphors to symbolize Hester’s suppression is the scaffold that she stands upon in the first chapter of the novel. Hawthorne writes, “she [Hester] ascended a flight of wooden steps” (page 76). The ascension using wooden steps to get to the wooden scaffold is not only fairly accurate to the building materials for the time, but it is also a symbolism to represent Hester’s role throughout the rest of the novel. According to Freud, “The material out of which something is made, is at the same time its mother-part,” (Freud Symbolism). Hawthorne writes, “It was, in short, the platform of the pillory; and above it rose the framework of that instrument of discipline, so fashioned as to confine the human head in its tight grasp, and thus hold it up to the public gaze” (page 76). This particular line is littered with words that can be associated with what a penis looks like and how it is used. By using words like short, rose, and, this one is awkward, tight grasp, one can see the symbolism found in the symbolisms from just one line about the scaffold. This line represents that Hester is

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