The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a novel, exposing a tale of sin, society, humility, guilt and humanity. It contains many rich symbols, which Nathaniel Hawthorne uses to represent these abstract ideas to his readers. Some of the symbols seen in the book are the rosebush outside the prison door, the scarlet letter embroidered on Hester Prynne’s dresses, the meteor seen in the night sky, and Pearl, the illegitimate daughter of Hester and Reverend Arthur Dimmsdale. Each of these chosen symbols represents the theme of sin, society, humanity or humility.
The rosebush seen next to the prison door can be thought of as the silver lining of the “hell” the main characters have to go through. Hester, who wears the burden of her sin daily, is torn apart by the looks and thought of others around her. Dimmsdale, on the other hand, suffers alone in silence, slowly tearing himself apart. The rosebush is used to show the hope of “some sweet moral blossom that may be found along the track, or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow.” The rosebush provides some relief or optimism of god willing forgiveness, whether it is God granted or from the Puritan society, that may be blessed upon Hester and Dimmsdale’s sinful souls. The rosebush provides some sanguinity in this heartbreaking tale, while other symbols simply envelop the pure peccadillo and humility of the scarlet letter.
The Scarlet Letter “A”, embroidered on the bosom of the protagonist Hester Prynne, is symbolic of the sin and humility. The Scarlet Letter was to be worn by Hester as a punishment of her affair, signifying adulterous, but throughout the story it becomes a symbol of Hester, herself. Hawthorne describes it as having “the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing her in a sphere by herself.” The letter “A” becomes physically and mentally a part