The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Decent Essays
Not everything in life has just one meaning. Symbolism occurs in everyday ordinary life. One of the most recognizable stories that contain symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”. Symbolism is when an object is used in place of a different object. Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of the most symbolic writers in all of American history. In “The Scarlet Letter”, the letter “A” is used to symbolize a variety of different concepts. The three major symbolistic ideas that the letter “A” represents in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” are; shame, guilt, and ability.

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”, the first symbolistic idea that the letter “A” represents is the idea of shame. In the beginning of the story Hester Prynne is about to be punished for her dirty deed that she has done. The whole idea is to shame Hester as her punishment. In order for Hester to receive her punishment they must first parade her around and make a huge deal about a small situation. The make a mountain out of a molehill by having Hester stand on a scaffolding and have the whole town look upon her while the scarlet letter is given to her. Hawthorne says in chapter one page 59 of the book, “Thus she will be a living sermon against sin, until the ignominious letter be engraved upon her tombstone.” The letter is there and will stay there until the day she dies. Even then, the letter will still be engraved among her tombstone, so as when anyone walks by they
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