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Word Count: 449
The Symbolism of Hester Prynnes Appearance Throughout The Scarlet Letter the author Nathaniel Hawthorne uses many literal and figurative items to illustrate the significance of various characters or themes Coupled with the tangible evidence given the reader can make many miscellaneous assumptions of the importance of these items to directly and indirectly contribute to the issues of the novel One cryptic item that symbolizes more than it seems to is the appearance of one of the main characters Hester Prynne Hester Prynnes appearance and hair signify the levels of will and determination she possesses at the moment The first example of this implication occurs at the beginning of the novel during and before the first scaffold scene Hesters hair is let down shining and so glossy that it threw off the sunshine with a gleam This hair compliments an elegant beautiful woman standing tall and proud During this time Hesters emotions at full integrity mirroring her appearance When Hester is being questioned upon the scaffold her virtue shines through when she refuses to name the partner of her sin In the next example Hesters pride and stature both seem to dwindle in accordance to her appearance Within the next seven years Hester has gone through a change both physically and emotionally The book describes the scarlet letter to have absorbed all the rebellious and fiery qualities of Hester leaving a cold and lonely woman her tenderness crushed so deeply into her heart that it can never show itself more At the same time Hester started hiding her beautiful rich hair in a cap therefore practically eliminating her beauty and femininity As Hester becomes less passionate internally she becomes less passionate externally as well The last example takes place during Hesters talk with Arthur Dimmesdale in the forest During their emotional conversation Hester regains her previous composure and tries to prove to Arthur that the past can be erased With the literal
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