The Scarlet Letter

The Immense Effect of Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter

Hawthorne wrote his great, psychological novel, The Scarlet Letter, not only in the literal sense, but also symbolically to thoroughly instill his strong ideas into the minds of readers. He uses sunshine, the forest, roses, the scarlet letter, Pearl, and a prison door to portray deeper thoughts. The purpose of using symbolism rather than just telling something to the reader outright is: to makes him/her think more, delve into the true meaning of things, and to convey a much deeper image of Hawthorne's words.

The prison door conveys an intense image of the Puritanical severity of the law. Hawthorne describes the prison in The Scarlet Letter as old, rusted, yet strong with a "door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes" (34). This is representative of how the laws of the Puritans have lasted through time and are taken very seriously. Also, the description shows that there is an inability to break free from the regulations. Another thing the passage demonstrates is that the Puritans have no tolerance of deviance.

A symbol of both goodness and uninhibited passion is sunshine. Hester says to Pearl, "Thou must gather thine own sunshine. I have none to give thee" meaning that she has...

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