|The Scarlett Letter
The Effective Use of Symbolism
The novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne is an intriguing account of a Puritan community that experiences a breakdown in beliefs. The story deals with a woman, Hester, who commits adultery with a Calvinistic minister resulting in the birth of a child (Martin 110). As compensation for her crime of passion and her refusal to name her lover, Hester is sentenced to wear an embroidered scarlet letter on her bosom. It is this letter, or secret sin, that becomes the emphasis of the novel and assumes many different roles (Martin 111). Hawthorne starts the novel by portraying the literary reality associated with the different aspects of the letter (Martin 110). From the start, Hawthorne seems to say, this is a scarlet letter; because of that, it is capable of further meaning. The letter will have to carry the burden of the tale (Martin 111). Hawthornes use of symbolism is fully developed in the multi-meanings hidd...