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Word Count: 608
Symbolism In the Scarlet Letter There is an abundance of symbolism in the scarlet letter the author uses the symbolism to unify the novel and put in a deeper level of meaning to the story The main symbol in the book is the letter A which symbolizes Hesters adultery For Hester and Dimmesdale the scarlet letter stands for agony which Hester shows in her secluded life and which Dimmesdale shows in his diminishing health Towards the end of the story the townspeople think that Hesters scarlet A stands for Ability she has become a helper for the poor and demoralized and a sensible counselor for their problems Dimmesdale placing his hand over his heart is also symbolic This is the ministers attempt to cover his mark of sinfulness and prevent his exposure It also suggests his nervous condition and reflects his grieved state The scaffold is a symbol of penitence and Gods platform on the Day of Judgment It is a likeness of appearing before the Almighty in ones imperfection This comparison makes it difficult for Dimmesdale to stand on the platform and confess his sins He first does it under the cover of the night for no one to see him as if he were trying to hide from God himself In the end he bravely stands on the scaffold and confesses his sin in the light of day before a crowd of people This declaration of his sin gives him a sense of peace The prison showed in the opening chapter of the book is a symbol of isolation and alienation foreshadowing the life that Hester will live even after she breaks through its boundaries While Hester lives in the prison of isolation Dimmesdale lives in the prison of his un-confessed guilt and Chillingworth is caged up by his constant striving for revenge Pearl alone remains free The forest in chapters 16-19 is symbolic of Nature both in its darker and lighter
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