The Effective Use Of Symblism In — страница 2

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constitution of his nature, he loved the truth, and loathed the lie, as few men ever did. Therefore, above all things else, he loathed his miserable self! (Hawthorne 105). Before Dimmesdale’s death, he finally confesses to his sin on the scaffold and frees his soul and conscience. Spectators have testified to seeing “on the breast of the unhappy minister, a SCARLET LETTER—the very semblance of that worn by Hester Prynne—imprinted in the flesh” (Hawthorne 182). Dimmesdale’s own personal suffering and guilt becomes known after the consequence of his sin is immersed. Since women are of less account than men, they are coerced physically rather that psychologically (Baym 283). Forced to wear a symbol of shame in public, Hester is left alone behind that symbol to develop,

as she will. Hester Prynne is torn in two between the different meanings she possesses towards the scarlet letter. The pain inflicted by the letter remains with Hester, while at the same time she takes satisfaction in having the letter. She views the letter as “an armor of pride that is also a mantle of suffering” (Martin 114). The letter serves as a constant reminder to Hester of her sin and brings the coldness of the community on her. She becomes isolated from others and looked down upon by everyone. The letter seals Hester’s fate and ruins any chances of her having a decent future. On the other hand, Foti 4 Hester also views the letter with pride. She feels her act was not one of sin but one of passion. Her act of adultery was rooted from the love she had for Dimmesdale

and belief in “the supremacy of her passion” (Martin 122). It is also believed that “Not a stitch in that embroidered letter has an effect, but she has felt it in her heart” (Hawthorne 43). The letter ironically brings Hester both joy and pain (Martin 120). When standing on the scaffold in front of all the relenting eyes, “Hester Prynne might have repaid them all with a bitter and disdainful smile” (Hawthorne 45). Hester, despite the coldness of the community, chooses to refrain. She slowly begins to gain the sympathy of certain members of the community and “Her breast, with its badge of shame, was but the softer pillow for the head that needed one” (Martin 122). The letter brings her glory, yet this honor works against her and results in pain (Martin 120).

Everything about Hester from her appearance to her being now all implies a certain contribution to her letter. Clearly after everything Hester has been put through, she still cannot come to “hate her sin” (Martin 121). Because of this she succumbs to the entire letter brings upon her yet remains able to avoid becoming bitter. Hester’s secret serves as an “emblem” of different fates of the Puritan generation. “Hawthorne seems to adorn the subject rather than present it, conceal it with fancy needlework, so that the Capital A might have been thought to mean…anything other than adulteress” (Fiedler 250). He portrays the guilt as craftwork, which he attributes to Hester’s prototype: “sporting with her infamy, the lost and desperate creature had embroidered the

fatal token with golden thread and the nicest art of needlework (Hawthorne 56). This suggests the symbol “A” may have represented the proceeding Foti 5 ages “forgotten art” that was now replaced by the darkest shade of Puritanism. The Scarlet Letter is concerned not only with passion but also with America (another possible signification of Hester’s letter). “It attempts to find in the story of Hester and Dimmesdale a paradigm of the fall of love in the New World” (Fiedler 249). However the many interpretations of the letter “A”, the common symbol by readers is “adultery”. Although the letter contains various interpretations, it proves to serve only one purpose: that being to make Hester’s sin of adultery known to everyone. The letter is the revolving

element throughout the novel. The Puritans brand Hester with this letter as punishment for her moral straying. The letter flourishes and takes on different meanings. Although the outcome of the situation is not what the Puritans had intended, the letter has served a purpose. The novel opens with the introduction of the letter and when it draws to a close this symbol is still the most important factor. The individual meanings of the letter and the events surrounding and resulting from the letter signify once again and emphasis the importance of the symbolism of the scarlet letter to the overall effect of the novel. Foti 6 Baym, Nina. The Shape of Hawthorne’s Career. New York: Cornell University Press, 1976, p.283. Fiedler, Leslie A. Love and Death in the American Novel. New