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The Scarlet Letter Critical Essays

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❶Yet these characters are not willing to accept any revelation at face value. Scarlet Letter Novel vs.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

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She struggles with her recognition of the letter's symbolism just as people struggle with their moral choices. The paradox is that the Puritans stigmatize her with the mark of sin and, in so doing, reduce her to a dull, lifeless woman whose characteristic color is gray and whose vitality and femininity are suppressed.

Over the seven years of her punishment, Hester's inner struggle changes from a victim of Puritan branding to a decisive woman in tune with human nature.

When she meets Dimmesdale in the forest in Chapter 18, Hawthorne says, "The tendency of her fate and fortunes had been to set her free. The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. In time, even the Puritan community sees the letter as meaning "Able" or "Angel. In her final years, "the scarlet letter ceased to be a stigma which attracted the world's scorn and bitterness, and became a type of something to be sorrowed over, and looked upon with awe, yet with reverence, too.

Often human beings who suffer great loss and life-changing experiences become survivors with an increased understanding and sympathy for the human losses of others. Hester is such a symbol.

Dimmesdale, on the other hand, is the secret sinner whose public and private faces are opposites. Even as the beadle — an obvious symbol of the righteous Colony of Massachusetts — proclaims that the settlement is a place where "iniquity is dragged out into the sunshine," the colony, along with the Reverend Mr.

Wilson, is in awe of Dimmesdale's goodness and sanctity. Inside the good minister, however, is a storm raging between holiness and self-torture. He is unable to reveal his sin. At worst, Dimmesdale is a symbol of hypocrisy and self-centered intellectualism; he knows what is right but has not the courage to make himself do the public act. When Hester tells him that the ship for Europe leaves in four days, he is delighted with the timing. He will be able to give his Election Sermon and "fulfill his public duties" before escaping.

At best, his public piety is a disdainful act when he worries that his congregation will see his features in Pearl's face. Dimmesdale's inner struggle is intense, and he struggles to do the right thing. He realizes the scaffold is the place to confess and also his shelter from his tormenter, Chillingworth.

Yet, the very thing that makes Dimmesdale a symbol of the secret sinner is also what redeems him. Sin and its acknowledgment humanize Dimmesdale. When he leaves the forest and realizes the extent of the devil's grip on his soul, he passionately writes his sermon and makes his decision to confess. As a symbol, he represents the secret sinner who fights the good fight in his soul and eventually wins. Pearl is the strongest of these allegorical images because she is nearly all symbol, little reality.

Dimmesdale sees Pearl as the "freedom of a broken law"; Hester sees her as "the living hieroglyphic" of their sin; and the community sees her as the result of the devil's work. She is the scarlet letter in the flesh, a reminder of Hester's sin. As Hester tells the pious community leaders in Chapter 8, ". See ye not, she is the scarlet letter, only capable of being loved, and so endowed with a million-fold the power of retribution for my sin? Pearl is also the imagination of the artist, an idea so powerful that the Puritans could not even conceive of it, let alone understand it, except in terms of transgression.

She is natural law unleashed, the freedom of the unrestrained wilderness, the result of repressed passion. When Hester meets Dimmesdale in the forest, Pearl is reluctant to come across the brook to see them because they represent the Puritan society in which she has no happy role. Here in the forest, she is free and in harmony with nature. Her image in the brook is a common symbol of Hawthorne's.

He often uses a mirror to symbolize the imagination of the artist; Pearl is a product of that imagination. When Dimmesdale confesses his sin in the light of the sun, Pearl is free to become a human being. All along, Hester felt there was this redeemable nature in her daughter, and here she sees her faith rewarded. Pearl can now feel human grief and sorrow, as Hester can, and she becomes a sin redeemed.

Chillingworth is consistently a symbol of cold reason and intellect unencumbered by human compassion. While Dimmesdale has intellect but lacks will, Chillingworth has both. He is fiendish, evil, and intent on revenge.

In his first appearance in the novel, he is compared to a snake, an obvious allusion to the Garden of Eden.

Chillingworth becomes the essence of evil when he sees the scarlet letter on Dimmesdale's breast in Chapter 10, where there is "no need to ask how Satan comports himself when a precious human soul is lost to heaven, and won into his kingdom. Prynne is a great example and life lesson to Pearl of how to accept the mistakes made in the past and not let the shame define oneself.

Prynne uses Pearl to show how tough a young child can be. On the other hand, the town viewed Pearl as the devil child: Pearl herself is truly a symbol of ignorance and hope. Hawthorne described an occurrence of Pearl talking to Mr. Pearl believed she was created for good and had an optimistic attitude on life. She did not let guilt become an emotion known in her. Pearl did not let the past effect her future. In conclusion, life lessons were learned about embracement, forgiveness, and acceptance from guilt with the use of symbolism and irony from Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter.

Moving on and learning from a sin or human frailty is significant and something everyone can learn from. Home Essays Scarlet Letter Analysis. In fact, it is Europe, not America, that the book presents as a place of potential. There, anonymity can protect an individual and allow him or her to assume a new identity.

This unexpected inversion leads the characters and the reader to question the principles of freedom and opportunity usually identified with America.

His fellow customs officers owe their jobs to patronage and family connections, not to merit, and he has acquired his own position through political allies. Thus, the customhouse is portrayed as an institution that embodies many of the principles that America supposedly opposes. Insecure in its social order, the new society is trying to distance itself from its Anglican origins yet, at the same time, reassure itself of its legitimacy and dignity.

But it is this project of defining America that Hawthorne himself partially undertakes in his novel. This novel makes extensive use of symbols. Do both have religious implications? Do symbols foreshadow events or simply comment on them after the fact? The Puritans in this book are constantly seeking out natural symbols, which they claim are messages from God. Yet these characters are not willing to accept any revelation at face value. They interpret the symbols only in ways that confirm their own preformulated ideas or opinions.

The meteor that streaks the sky as Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold in Chapter 12 is a good example of this phenomenon. Rather, he writes that the garden, which was originally planted to look like an ornamental garden in the English style, is now full of weeds, thorns, and vegetables. The absence of any flowers other than the thorny roses also hints that ideals are often accompanied by evil and pain.

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The Scarlet Letter essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

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Free Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter - Pearl as The Scarlet Letter - Pearl as The Scarlet Letter The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a novel that shows the Puritanical way of life.

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Scarlet letter essay, - Buy research papers writing service. Rest assured that you will be assigned a pro in the field of your study. Moreover, all of our experts are familiar with reference styles and formatting. Symbolism in the Scarlet Letter Essay Words | 4 Pages In the novel "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne symbolism is used to represent the evolution of the characters primarily that of Hester Prynne.

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Free essays on Scarlet Letter available at downlwhopkd.cf, the largest free essay community. Kelsey Federspill Scarlet Letter Literary Analysis R5 2. 12 Over Coming Guilt Remorse is a feeling experienced after committing an act that produces a sense of guilt. A life lesson can be learned in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, about the theme of guilt.