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The meaning of the scarlet letter in Nathaniel Hawthornes The scarlet letter
2002 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor)Student thesis
Abstract [en]

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter deals with the religious theme of sin, guilt and the effect of sin on the soul. The protagonist of The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne, has committed adultery and is to wear a scarlet letter A on her clothes. However, the scarlet letter does not mean the same thing for Hester and for the other characters in the novel. Thus, the purpose of this essay is to examine the different meanings of the scarlet letter and how it is connected to Hester, Pearl (her infant), Roger Chillingworth (Hester’s husband) and her lover, Arthur Dimmesdale. By taking a closer look at the way in which these characters act, one is able to find a great number of meanings of the scarlet letter. Hester, for example, decorates the letter gorgeously and shows that her extramarital affair is not anything sinful. Chillingworth, on the other hand, is ashamed of her deed and never reveals who he is, while Dimmesdale tells the truth in the final scene (of the novel) when he reveals to the Puritans that he is Hester’s fellow sinner. Pearl, moreover, is the living version of the scarlet letter, not only because of her scarlet wardrobe, but because of her being as passionate and natural as the scarlet letter is.

Abstract [en]

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter deals with the religious theme of sin, guilt and the effect of sin on the soul. The protagonist of The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne, has committed adultery and is to wear a scarlet letter A on her clothes. However, the scarlet letter does not mean the same thing for Hester and for the other characters in the novel. Thus, the purpose of this essay is to examine the different meanings of the scarlet letter and how it is connected to Hester, Pearl (her infant), Roger Chillingworth (Hester’s husband) and her lover, Arthur Dimmesdale. By taking a closer look at the way in which these characters act, one is able to find a great number of meanings of the scarlet letter. Hester, for example, decorates the letter gorgeously and shows that her extramarital affair is not anything sinful. Chillingworth, on the other hand, is ashamed of her deed and never reveals who he is, while Dimmesdale tells the truth in the final scene (of the novel) when he reveals to the Puritans that he is Hester’s fellow sinner. Pearl, moreover, is the living version of the scarlet letter, not only because of her scarlet wardrobe, but because of her being as passionate and natural as the scarlet letter is.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. , 18 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-53711Local ID: ENG C-14OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-53711DiVA: diva2:1102271
Subject / course
English
Available from: 2017-05-29 Created: 2017-05-29

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Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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