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The Color Red in The Scarlet Letter

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by

Madeleine Proctor

on 3 December 2014

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Transcript of The Color Red in The Scarlet Letter

Symbolism of Red in The Scarlet Letter
Red as Emotion
Red as Sin
Red as Individuality
Passion
Red, is a striking color which represents the passion in everything Hester does, making her unforgettable.

"There was a fire in her [Pearl] and throughout her; she seemed the unpremeditated offshoot of a passionate moment" (93)
Shame
Hester wearing the red letter was a constant reminder of her sin, and the shame that comes with what she did.
Loneliness
Hester being the only one wearing being shamed with the red scarlet letter represents her solidarity from society.
Pearl Wearing Red
Pearl is always described as wearing red, making her seem like a physical representation of Hester's sin, but it also shows her free spirit, and similarities to her mother.
The Letter A
The letter "A" being red symbolizes the shame lust that comes as a repercussion of Hester's sin, and made it obvious to anyone who saw her that she committed as sin, but the "A" is also described as beautiful, which could be a sign of the author's favoritism of Hester.
The Red Rose
The red rose in the rosebush in the beginning of the novel symbolizes Hester's sin standing out amongst the other citizens in her town, and that beauty can be found anywhere and can survive anywhere"
Conformity

Both the rosebush and Hester and Pearl's attire represents an sort of unspoken movement against conformity of the society in the novel. The other townspeople are all described as wearing dull colors.

"A throng of bearded men in sad colored garments and gray, steeple crowned hats..." (45)
Innocence
The red rose also represents innocence and purity, which was something quite rare for that time.

Pearl wearing red is also seen as a symbol of her innocence, even though Pearl, being the product of sin, wouldn't typically be innocent.
Separation
Hester wearing the red "A" and dressing Pearl in red separated them from society and made it clear that they were not like most others from that time.
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