An analysis of symbol significance in the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne

An analysis of symbol significance in the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne

On the dark of Arthur Dimmesdale vigil, he sees a ruddy Angstrom in the sky. Dimmesdale refuses to come back to the scaffold at "noontide" , and immediately afterwards his "guilty imagination" leads him to interpret the meteor in the sky as a representation of his sin Irwin discusses this influence at length in American Hieroglyphics. Critics over the years focused on this search for a hidden significance, and put forward their own interpretation of this "truth. Hawthorne thus seems to linger over the consequences of using the scarlet letter as a romantic symbol. No less than twenty-four occurrences of the noun or the verb can be numbered, delineating a definition of symbol that undoubtedly leans towards that of the German romantics. One positive symbol is the rosebush outside the prison. This darkness symbolizes con cealment and secrets.

Hawthorne thus seems to linger over the consequences of using the scarlet letter as a romantic symbol. On the other hand, the symbol has a syncretic value: it represents and signifies at the same time, it fuses the object and its secondary meaning.

On the contrary, if a symbol is assigned one definite meaning, some of its reality as a literary object is ignored. It is a place where one goes morally astray. The various interpretations given over the years to the symbol by critics by the way confirm the success of this strategy.

Although the idea of intuitive comprehension may be considered as an ideal, Hawthorne's pragmatism leads him to qualify it and to take into account the impact of social conventions on the understanding of the symbol.

what does the scarlet letter symbolize

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. But in doing so, his reader is laden with the responsibility of correctly interpreting his text.

At best, his public piety is a disdainful act when he worries that his congregation will see his features in Pearl's face. As far as its use in the novel is concerned, the forest is a terrifying place, an abode of Satan, as is considered during the Puritanism, and Hester is left in the forest.

10 symbols in the scarlet letter

But Dimmesdale is trapped in the literal meaning of the letter for the very reason that he refuses it. It also seems to be, at times, the light of truth and grace. In the end, even the grave of Dimmesdale and Hester is in darkness. Instead, Hawthorne ultimately presents Hester as a woman who represents a sensitive human being with a heart and emotions; Dimmesdale as a minister who is not very saint-like in private but, instead, morally weak and unable to confess his hidden sin; and Chillingworth as a husband who is the worst possible offender of humanity and single-mindedly pursuing an evil goal. The narrator provides several possible interpretations of the anomalous rosebush, yet, as with other symbols in the book, assigns no singular meaning to it. Light and Color Light and darkness, sunshine and shadows, noon and midnight, are all manifestations of the same images. It has the original significance every bit good as different significances to assorted characters. This also echoes the origin of the word "symbol," since the Greek word "symbolon" referred to a coin divided into two halves that was used as a recognition sign. The abstract word does not refer to reality, and the reader is confronted with the very opposite of a symbol, with a naked abstraction that presents itself as such. The Rosebush at the Prison Door — The reader is greeted immediately with the symbol of a rosebush in an otherwise dreary setting.

She is seen as a fallen woman, a culprit who deserves the ignominy of her immoral choice. It also shows the love, forgiveness, and grace of God upon them.

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Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter