Scarlet Letter Essay

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A common theme throughout literature is religion and how the author feels about his or her faith. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses rhetorical devices to draw comparisons between characters and events in The Scarlet Letter and Biblical figures and accounts. A few of the devices found in this novel that connect it to the Bible are symbolism, paradox, allusions, and characterization. It is important to first look at the characters and how they are described through characterization.

The first rhetorical device is characterization. The way the main characters are described by Hawthorne sets up how they will be perceived. It is through this that we see the first inklings of biblical figures. Biblical characters are seen
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However, when you examine them in greater depth it becomes apparent that there is more to them than there originally appeared to be. The first is that of the scarlet letter itself. The “A” was originally intended to show people that the person wearing it was a sinner who had committed adultery. However, as the novel develops it becomes more of a sign of heaven through the meaning of angel. This is first seen when an “A” appears in the sky shortly after the death of Governor Winthrop. It is at this time that the townspeople decide this is a sign that Governor Winthrop was a good Christian who has gone on to a better life. But the townspeople cannot help but realize that this is the same thing which the have made one of their own people, Hester, wear. Another symbol is found in what is one of Hester’s greatest skills. Her ability with a needle to sew and embroider better than anyone else has a lot more meaning than there appears to be. Hester uses sewing as her outlet when she is condemned by the townspeople, but it is through her seclusion and the sewing she does during her time alone that strengthens her faith in herself and God, much like Mary did after she first learned of her pregnancy. This faith proves very helpful to her in more trying times. Yet another symbol is made through the rosebush. The rose bush is a symbol of sin, and Pearl continues to claim

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