The Scarlet Letter: The Symbol Of The Scarlet Letter



In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne's
scarlet token liberates her more than it punishes her. First of all,
Hester's soul is freed by her admission of her crime; by enduring her
earthly punishment, Hester is assured of a place in the heavens. Also,
though her appearance is much hampered by the scarlet letter, her mind is
freed by it, that an intellectual passion rises from her isolation and
suffering. Finally, it defines her identity, for the letter makes Hester
the woman that she is; it gives her roots, character, and a uniqueness to
her being that sets her apart from the other Puritans. The scarlet letter
is indeed a blessing to Hester Prynne, more than the ...

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a vivid scarlet, "so fantastically
embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom." Hester chose red as the color
of her brand of shame, to declare to the rest of the townspeople that she
is prepared to acknowledge her sin, instead of denying it; she could have
chosen to wear her "A" in a plain and nondistinct color, to escape the
townspeople's disdain. By displaying her guilt however, she is granted the
opportunity to face her punishment bravely, thus through her public
humiliation, she achieves freedom from the personal guilt of not suffering
enough for her crimes. Furthermore, "the scarlet letter, forthwith seemed
to scorch into Hester's breast, as if it had been red-hot." The scarlet
A's glowing embers, scorching they may be, also serve to heal, for the pain
they inflict on Hester enables her to properly atone for her sin; by
devoting this lifetime to repentance and expiation, she would receive
relief in her next life. To the Puritans she is shamed, yet to the heavens
she is ...

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outlet in the deep recesses of her own mind; Hester
is liberated by the scarlet letter since she discovers an intellectual
passion as a release from a dull and monotonous existence. Hester's
physical appearance may be one of "marble coldness", yet buried underneath
those marble slabs her "newly emancipated" intellect burns with great
fervor. The pure yet hard marble represents the Hester seen by the people;
Solid and dependable, possessing a serene yet pallid beauty. The vibrance
that once dominated her features now dominates her thoughts, her warm
passion this time finding release in the richness of her brilliant mind.
"Hester [imbibes] the spirit" of intellectual emancipation. ...

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Added: 2/24/2008 10:58:13 PM
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