Symbols in “The Scarlet Letter” Flashcard Example #26855

The meteor
This appears in the sky after Dimmesdale and Hester meet in the woods. Dimmesdale thinks it means that he should wear a scarlet letter too,that God is exposing his sin to the world, and sees it as a sign of his mutual sin. The Puritan community, however, thinks it stands for “angel”, and is there because the governor died.
The rose by the prison door
The red rose by the prison door is symbolic of Hester. Vibrant and beautiful, the rose bush surprisingly thrives and survives in its harsh, drab environment, much like Hester in hers.
The scarlet letter
While originally intended to mark Hester as a sinner and make her ashamed, and while it at first does just that, it changes through the story. Hester is able to cause people to say the “A” stands for able, and to make them claim her as their own. She owns her punishment, and is able to find peace.
Dimmesdale’s scarlet letter
Dimmesdale’s scarlet letter on his chest symbolizes the effects of secret sin- it burns, it tortures, it destroys, and can ultimately kill. Because Dimmesdale’s sin is not out in the open, he is unable to find the peace that Hester has.
Pearl
Pearl is a symbol of how open sin can set on apart. Pearl is completely different from the other children in the Puritan community, from her behavior to her clothing. Called a “demon child”, people believe that this child is sent from the Devil himself. Pearl also plays differently from the other children, choosing to play with imaginary friends than with the other children in somber games.
The prison door
The drab, dreary, door of dispair symbolizes, in a way, the Puritan community. It’s thick, spiky, and not friendly.; it is strict and unrelenting.
Chillingsworth’s name
Chillingsworth’s name is symbolic of his character, he is chilling, and him and his care are not worth much.
Pearl’s name
Pearl’s name, a reference to a “pearl of great price” symbolizes all that her mother gave up after committing adultery.
Dimmesdale’s name
Dimmesdale’s name also is symbolic of his character. His light of Christ that he is supposed to be shining is very dim, although his congregation thinks otherwise.
Hester’s name
Hester, derived from “Esther”, stands alone in a strange, foreign land/place filled with unfriendly people, like Esther in the Bible.

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