The Scarlet Letter

Light and Dark in The Scarlet Letter College

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter employs dramatic clout within the characters with the light and dark contrast. The “blackness” did not allude to race. The dark colors underline sin and their evil, distraught intentions while the lightness emphasizes innocence and exposure. Hawthorne implies Calvinist beliefs of Innate Depravity within the color of Hester Prynne’s Scarlet Letter, the reactions of Pearl, Prynne’s daughter, depiction of the forest and the “Black Man”.

Hawthorne manipulates the lighting to enforce emotions, depravity, and power. This idea is especially evident with Hester Prynne and Pearl, emphasizing the contrast yet recognizing the irony. Prynne did bear an illegitimate child with Dimmesdale. Based on the idea of Innate Depravity, everyone is born sinful. Pearl was spawned from sin, born a sinner, therefore, she symbolizes sin. Chapter two emphasizes one of the many lights that Pearl is portrayed in. “She bore in her hands a child who winked and turned aside its little face from the too vivid light of the day…acquainted only with the gray twilight of dungeon” (36). The image evokes empathy for Pearl’s predicament and Prynne’s...

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