Scarlet Letter - Symbols

Scarlet Letter - Symbols
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  • THE SCARLET LETTER: Symbols
  • The rose-bush in front of the prison represented hope for those entering the prison, and stood out as something beautiful within the ugliness of Puritan society, both metaphorically as a symbol of hope and literally within the weeds in front of the prison.
  • Despite my situation, I feel some hope...
  • GO TO YOUR CELL!
  • However, the prison behind it represented the strictness and rigidness of Puritan society, as well as the theocracy that dominated its social system and government resulting in dull and controlled lives.
  • During the early parts of the book, Hester's scarlet letter was a symbol of shame, ignominy, and disgrace within Puritan society, as well as the sin that Hester committed, and was scorned as a result.
  • "But in their great mercy and tenderness of heart, they have doomed Mistress Prynne to...wear a mark of shame upon her bosom."
  • "Do you see that woman with the embroidered badge? It is our Hester... who is so kind to the poor, helpful to the sick, so comfortable to the afflicted!"
  • However, later on in the story, the scarlet letter and Hester come to represent hope, kindness, helpfulness, and tenderness. People began to interpret it as standing for "able" rather than "adulterer".
  • "Hasten, Pearl; or I shall be angry with thee! Leap across the brook, naughty child, and run hither! Else I must come to thee!"
  • Throughout the series of events within the forest, the brook represents a boundary between escaping to freedom and being limited by society; a boundary between 2 worlds that Pearl would not cross unless Hester reapplied her letter.
  • Why is the minister with my mother? And where is her letter?
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