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Word Count: 929
By definition a symbol is something concrete that represents or suggests another thing that cannot in itself be pictured Nathaniel Hawthorne uses many people as symbols throughout The Scarlet Letter The characters of Hester Prynne Arthur Dimmesdale Pearl and Roger Chillingworth all represent sin However these four symbolize different aspects of sin Through the character of Hester Prynne Hawthorne shows how sin can make a person stronger When Hester commits adultery the Puritan punishment forces her to wear a scarlet letter so the whole community knows of her wrongdoing Hester has enough courage to wear the letter in public even though she has to live with harassing comments and peculiar glances from the townspeople By dealing with these unnecessary actions Hester becomes a stronger person who is better able to handle pain and defend herself Besides the fact that she wears her A proudly Hester is able to get over her sorrow and get on with her life She decides not to stay home everyday and suffer grief instead she chooses to help others Many people begin to respect her again because of her kindness and assistance As Hawthorne states Such helpfulness was found in her- so much power to do and power to sympathize- that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification They said that it meant Able so strong was Hester Prynne with a womans strength Hester truly is a symbol of strength and because of her strength she is able to get on with her life and not suffer with her grief Unlike Hester Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale does not become stronger from his sin but instead becomes weaker He is a symbol of God and because of this it is hard for him to be open about his sins Until his death he can never plainly admit to his congregation that he committed adultery The fact that Dimmesdale conceals his sin torments him and it is evident
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