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Symbols Found in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlett Letter Essay

Decent Essays
Several symbols that are found within Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, represent a greater idea found outside of the story itself. The uses of symbols throughout the novel portray a truthful version of reality, one that people can relate to and find in their daily lives. He uses symbols found within nature to develop the setting, characters, and mood. The use of light and color play a significant role in depicting the symbolism of the scenery and background of the novel. The forest is a predominant setting that is also symbolic. The forest portrays the character’s psychological state of mind as well as it being a place where one can escape the grim realities of life. The use of light and darkness within the novel becomes a…show more content…
The symbol of darkness developed Dimmesdale into the character that he was becoming, a man who’s guilt was outweighing him. Hawthorne uses color within the novel to portray the significance it has on certain objects. The most predominant color used is the color red with the rosebush as its strongest example. The reader sees the use of the color with the rosebush that is present at the beginning of chapter one. The rosebush is in stark contrast to its surroundings. The rosebush could symbolize passion because Pearl was asked where she had come from and she stated that she was plucked from the rosebush. Pearl indeed was a product of passion as well as sin. The symbol of the rosebush is tied to a greater idea found outside of its literal meaning. It shows that something so beautiful can grow in even the ugliest setting. The forest, on the outskirts of town, is a symbol of freedom. The forest is a natural world that appeals to both Hester and Dimmesdale. Here they can escape the man-made laws that have been enforced through the Puritan community. The forest becomes a symbol of guilt free bliss. In this other world Hester freely could take off her cap allowing her hair to be let down where the sun shined upon her. She is transformed into the drab woman that she once was into a graceful woman. However, Pearl notes how the sun does not like Hester, saying it runs away and hides because of the scarlet letter she is
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