An analysis of the symbols of light and dark in the novel the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne

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An analysis of the symbols of light and dark in the novel the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne

One important influence on the story is money. Hawthorne had never made much money as an author and the birth of his first daughter added to the financial burden "Biographical Note" VII. He received a job at the Salem Custom House only to lose it three years later and be forced to write again to support his family IX.

It was only intended to be a long short story, but the extra money a novel would bring in was needed "Introduction" XVI. In addition to financial worries, another influence on the story is Hawthorne's rejection of his ancestors.

His forefathers were strict Puritans, and John Hathorne, his great-great-grandfather, was a judge presiding during the S! Hawthorne did not condone their acts and actually spent a great deal of his life renouncing the Puritans in general VII.

An analysis of the symbols of light and dark in the novel the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne

Similarly, The Scarlet Letter was a literal "soapbox" for Hawthorne to convey to the world that the majority of Puritans were strict and unfeeling.

For example, before Hester emerges from the prison she is being scorned by a group of women who feel that she deserves a larger punishment than she actually receives.

Instead of only being made to stand on the scaffold and wear the scarlet letter on her chest, they suggest that she have it branded on her forehead or even be put to death Hawthorne Perhaps the most important influence on the story is the author's interest in the "dark side" "Introduction" VIII.

Unlike the transcendentalists of the era, Hawthorne "confronted reality, rather than evading it" VII. Likewise, The Scarlet Letter deals with adultery, a subject that caused much scandal when it w!

The book revolves around sin and punish ment, a far outcry from writers of the time, such as Emerson and Thoreau, who dwelt on optimistic themes VII.

Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter

This background, together with a believable plot, convincing characterization, and important literary devices enables Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter to the develop the theme of the heart as a prison.

The scaffold scenes are the most substantial situations in the story because they unify The Scarlet Letter in two influential ways. First of all, every scaffold scene reunites the main characters of the novel.

In the first scene, everyone in the town is gathered in the market place because Hester is being questioned about the identity of the father of her child Hawthorne In her arms is the product of her sin, Pearl, a three month old baby who is experiencing life outside the prison for the first time Dimmesdale is standing beside the scaffold because he is Hester's pastor and it is his job to convince her to repent and reveal the father's name A short time later, Chillingworth unexpectedly shows up within the crowd of people who are watching Hester after he is released from his two year captivity by the Indians In the second scene, Dimmesdale is standing on top of the scaffold alone in the middle of the night He sees Hester and Pearl wal!

When Dimmesdale recognizes them and tells them to join him, they walk up the steps to stand by his side Chillingworth appears later standing beside the scaffold, staring at Dimmesdale, Hester, and Pearl.

In the final scaffold scene, Dimmesdale walks to the steps of the scaffold in front of the whole town after his Election day sermon He tells Hester and Pearl to join him yet again on the scaffold Chillingworth then runs through the crowd and tries to stop Dimmesdale from reaching the top of the scaffold, the one place where he can't reach him Another way in which the scenes are united is how each illustrates the immediate, delayed, and prolonged effects that the sin of adultery has on the main characters.

The first scene shows Hester being publicly punished on the scaffold She is being forced to stand on it for three hours straight and listen to peop! Dimmesdale's instantaneous response to the sin is to lie. He stands before Hester and the rest of the town and proceeds to give a moving speech about how it would be in her and the father's best interest for her to reveal the father's name Though he never actually says that he is not the other parent, he implies it by talking of the father in third person Such as, "If thou feelest it to be for thy soul's peace, and that thy earthly punishment will thereby be made more effectual to salvation, I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow-sinner and fellow-sufferer" Chillingworth's first reaction is one of shock, but he quickly suppresses it Since his first sight of his wife in two years is of her being punished for being unfaithful to him, he is naturally surprised.

It does not last for long though, because it is his nature to control his emotions Pearl's very existence in this scene is the largest immediate effect of her parents' cr!

She obviously would never had been there had her parents resisted their love for each other. The second scene occurs several years later and shows the effects after time has had a chance to play its part. It begins with Dimmesdale climbing the stairs of the scaffold in the middle of the night because it is the closest that he can come to confessing his sin This scene is especially important because it shows how pitiful he has become.

Dimmesdale shows just how irrational he is when he screams aloud because he fears that the universe is staring at a scarlet token on his breast It also shows how much guilt he is carrying by the way he perceives the light from a meteor as the letter A.The light, of course, is the scarlet letter, shining out of the darkness of the Puritanic gloom.

Colors play a similar role to light and darkness. One of the predominant colors is red, seen in the roses, the letter, Pearl's clothing, the "scarlet woman," Chillingworth's eyes, and the streak of the meteor.

Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter has been adapted countless times for stage and film. The most current, well-known film version of the novel, which was released in and starred Demi. nathaniel hawthorne's the scarlet letter offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text explore course hero's library of .

Discussion of themes and motifs in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.

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. The Analysis of Light and Dark. The Analysis of Light and Dark Imagery Nathaniel Hawthorne&#;s The House of the Seven Gables, uses many qualities of symbolism which help develop the novel&#;s main ideas. Darkness is the emblematic &#;color&#; of the Pyncheon&#;s. Black in The Scarlet Letter. As mentioned earlier, the color black in The Scarlet Letter symbolizes sin and evil. This symbol is one of hidden sins.

eNotes critical analyses help you gain a deeper understanding of The Scarlet Letter so you can excel on your essay or test. Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter, felt that the Puritans were people who believed that the world was a place where the battle between good and evil was a never-ending one.

The Scarlet Letter Study Guide

Throughout the novel, Hawthorne uses the symbols of light and dark to depict this battle among the characters Hester Prynne, Pearl, and Roger Chillingworth. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne It is quite easy to see symbolism in this novel; however, it is not as easy to fully understand the thought process that went along with every word, paragraph, and page to The Scarlet Letter, or for that matter, any of Hawthorne’s novels.

and the evolving symbolism of light by the use of.

SparkNotes: The Scarlet Letter: Symbols