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According to the American Heritage Dictionary symbolism is the practice ofrepresenting things by means of symbols or of attributing symbolic meanings or significance to objects events or relationships Nathaniel Hawthorne the author of The Scarlet Letter uses much symbolism throughout the course of his complex novel Through the use of symbolism Hawthorne gives the book a much deeper meaning There are many symbols which can be found in The Scarlet Letter Some may be hidden and others are very obvious Throughout the novel the three main symbols which develop are the scarlet letter itself A Hester Pyrnnes daughter Pearl and the sinister Roger Chillingworth The letter A which Hester is required to stitch and embroider on her clothing is part of her punishment for the crime of adultery The second part of her punishment is that she is required to stand on the scaffold in the town square for three hours and endure public humiliation and harassment from the crowd of towns people which gather below The scarlet letter A on her chest stands for her adulterous act but it also represents something much more symbolic The A is visibly seen on Hesters clothing although it has several other meanings which reveal itself throughout the course of the novelThe most obvious symbol the A stands for is adultery The A is elaborately embroidered on Hesters clothes and must be visible at all times while Hester is in public This scarlet letter is a symbol of Hesters sin which she will have to live with the rest of her life The A is stitched over Hesters heart By this placement of the letter she conceals all of her emotions as if using the A as a shield similar to the suit of armor with the letter A on the breast plate found in Governor Bellinghams mansion The A has the effect of a spell taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing
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