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Nathaniel Hawthorne the author of the novel The Scarlet Letter initially suggests his novel to be allegorical in a brief introduction to the novel entitled The Custom-House Perhaps more importantly than providing the reader with a background to the story in this preface he attempts to convey to the reader the themes and the deeper meaning of The Scarlet Letter He comments Certainly there was some deep meaning in it most worthy of interpretation and which as it were streamed forth from the mystic symbol subtly communicating itself to my sensibilitiesHawthorne 21 At the novels start Hawthorne presents to the reader the conflict that leads to the development of the characters the proud and hard working Hester Prynne the guilt stricken Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale Roger Chillingworth the devil incarnate and the wild daughter of Hester and Dimmesdale Pearl Hawthorne reveals symbolism and allegory through these protagonists of the novel and their actions thoughts and words Hester Prynne the adulteress of the novel shines through the story not as a sinner but rather a person of ability and strength From the start Hesters reactions to the ridicule of her community portray the strength she exemplifies Hester was condemned to wear a scarlet letter fantastically embroidered with gold thread upon her bosomHawthorne 41 Although the Puritan society shunned Hester forcing her to wear the letter as public recognition of her sin she did not feel contempt for herself and continued to earn her living by doing embroidery for the townspeople Also the rigid townspeople did not accept Hesters love affair and in turn made it difficult for her to be comfortable in the town Tenaciously she remained and said to herself her town had been the scene of her guilt and here should be the scene of her punishmentand therefore she did not fleeHawthorne 55 Hesters ability to face her fears the ridicule cast by her the public aided in creating a complex and symbolic character
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