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Word Count: 3,909
Symbolism of The Scarlet Letter A symbol is a literary device which is employed to portray another object or individual In the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne it is most often a tangible object he uses to represent an undefined idea complex in scope and significance More times than not it represents reverent profound or virtuous concepts of merit From the substitution of one idea or object for another to creations as massive complex and perplexing as the veil in the Ministers Black veil are the domain symbols may encompass Hawthornes notable and unique use of the inanimate letter A the scenery of the rose bush and the settings of forest to make the characters -Hester Dimmesdale Chillingworth and Pearl- into symbols in the novel in order to portray his moral and theme of Be true Be true Be true The red letter A is presented but whose meaning has to be deciphered What does the letter mean It is a question every character in the novel repeats who confronts the blatant red token and who has to deal with it The letter A manifests in a variety of forms and places Not only does the A manifest in various forms but it also acquires a variety of meanings It represents more than just the sin of adultery Even as the original mark of adultery the scarlet letter has a different individual meaning to the various characters To Hester the A is a symbol of unjust humiliation The A magnifies in an armor breastplate at the Governors mansion to exaggerated and gigantic proportions so as to be acutely the most prominent feature of Hesters semblance In truth she emerges absolutely hidden behind it The A grows to be larger than Hester signifying the towns view of her sin They do not see the human being behind the scarlet letter they only see a sinner For Hester the A is not only a symbol of adultery
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