The Role of Color in The Scarlet Letter Essay

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Throughout history, colors have been used to symbolize different meanings based on associations with culture, history, politics, and religion. In The Scarlet Letter, the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism through colors such as red, black and white in the form of sunlight, to represent emotions and ideologies of Hester and the people around her.
Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the color red significantly throughout The Scarlet Letter to show its importance of symbolism in the emotions of sin and passion that it represents. The first example in The Scarlet Letter is the red rose that is growing by the prison door (2), which represents Hester’s pride and passion. This rose is growing in a place that is not very fitting, which is identical
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The first occurrence that
Hawthorne adds to The Scarlet Letter is when he explains the prison as “the black flower of civilized society” (2). By this Hawthorne means that the prison is a place of evil and a place that conceals the truth, in the event that Hester is being held there with the truth about her adulterous act. Hawthorne also describes Pearl’s eyes as having “another face, in the small black mirror”, instead of holding her mother’s “own miniature portrait” (48). This explains that Pearl’s eyes were empty and filled with sin as she came into life as a result of Hester’s scarlet letter. Another example of how Hawthorne uses the color black, as symbolism, is when Chillingworth states: “Even in the graveyard here at hand, they are new to me. I found them growing on a grave, which bore no tombstone, nor other memorial of the dead man, save these ugly remembrance. They grew out of his heart, and typify, it may be, some hideous secret that was buried with him, and with he had done better to confess during his lifetime” (83). This takes place when Roger Chillingworth brings Arthur Dimmesdale herbs with dark, flabby leaves. By this quote, Hawthorne implies that the herbs that Chillingworth had collected had no meaning but to signify evil that had been growing out of the grave, the remains that were left from the dead man who had been buried there. Another major part of The Scarlet Letter also comes from the symbolism of the color black
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