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The Symbolism of Red and Black in The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne uses red and black imagery to reveal a secret a characters emotion or the truth about a character The red and black symbolism advances the story He sometimes uses red and black in nature with flowers or the sky Some objects are red and black and symbolize something about the owner of that object Red usually indicates sin passion and love Black often indicates bad things evil and hate Hawthorne uses red and black imagery to reveal characters The symbolism deepens and foreshadows the action of the story Hawthorne uses red and black imagery in nature when he says that the prison is the black flower of civilized society He calls it the black flower to confirm that it is a bad place It is a bad place for Hester because she had been imprisoned there condemned for her adultery The prison is a black flower because it contains evil It is represented as a flower because it grew from the society Before this ugly edifice and between it and the wheel-track of the street was a grass-plot much overgrown with burdock pig-weed apple-peru and such unsightly vegetation which evidently found something congenial in the soil that had so early borne the black flower of civilized society a prison 135 In contrast to the black flower imagery Hawthorne uses a red rose bush to symbolize that there is still love in nature This shows that even though Hester is punished and hated she still has love for her child and the childs father The significance of a rose bush in the prison courtyard is that the roses are red and red things often help the sinners in this story The rose bush gives comfort to the prisoners maybe the red roses have made them happier in their confinement to know that nature has accepted them even though their society has rejected
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