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Symbolism in the Scarlet Letter

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by

Kaylyn Franklin

on 25 September 2013

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Transcript of Symbolism in the Scarlet Letter

Symbolism in the Scarlet Letter
Rose Bush
The rose bush was a sign of hope. It grew next to the prison, which reminded people that there was still beauty in the world. The red rose symbolized a love that neither Hester or Pearl could obtain. This was the love of Dimmesdale.
Physical Deformity
Even though Chillingworth had a physical deformity that made him a humpback, people still accepted him. It was mean, bitter, and ugly. This physical deformity also revealed the character of Chillingworth. Not only was it a sign of evil, but it also stood for deformity in his character and mind.
Scarlet Letter at the End
The scarlet letter no longer represented a sin. It now stood as able. Hester was able to get through her struggles and sins. At the end of the story, she isn't frowned upon anymore. She died with a good reputation.
Scaffold
The scaffold represented public humiliation. It was also a symbol of death. Many people saw it as a form of entertainment or a place to spectate people.
Ocean
In the beginning, the ocean represented Hester living on the edge of society. It was the end of Hester's world, and the ocean kept her trapped there. In the end of the book, the ocean symbolized freedom. It was Hester's freedom to a new world.
Forest
The forest was a place of darkness. It represented evil and where wickedness came from. Anything that came from the dark was no good to others. It was best to stay out of the forest, because witchcraft was practiced there.
Scarlet Letter
The scarlet letter upon her chest stood for adultery. It stands for the sin that she has committed, but it also stands for her being impure. By wearing this symbol, her sins were made public.
Man in Black
Chillingworth was known as the man in black who came out of the forest. The man in black represented the devil as well. So, in a sense Chillingworth represented the devil.
Pearl
Pearl was Hester's child that showed truth. She represented her mother's lost treasure. Pearl also stands for her mothers punishment, because she is a constant reminder of the sin Hester committed. However, Pearl is also the result of the love between Hester and Dimmesdale.
Weeds
The weeds came from the forest, which represents darkness. The weeds were given to Dimmesdale since he was ill. However, the weeds were like a poison. They destroyed the inside of Dimmesdale by feeding off of his guilt.
Meteor
Dimmesdale interprets the meteor in a different way than the rest of the community. Dimmesdale believes that he should wear the mark of shame just like Hester. However the rest of the Puritans believed it stands for "Angel", and that it is a gateway to heaven.
Prison Door
The prison door has two parts: the wooden side and the iron side. The wooden part represents God's natural law, because wood is natural. The iron side represents man's law since iron is man made.
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