Sunday, October 13, 2019
Scarlet Letter :: essays research papers
"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get," suggests Tom Hanks in the motion picture "Forrest Gump". He utilizes this metaphor to align a box of chocolates as a symbol for life. Symbolism serves as a useful tool to convey a message or point subtly so that the concept lingers in the mind of the reader, who then establishes a relation in his or her mind with that object and the message. Hawthorne uses symbolism in The Scarlet Letter extensively to express the underlying truths about the stifling nature of Puritan society and the dispositions of the characters in the novel. Such elements as nature, color, and light; the scarlet letter itself; as well as the scaffold, where the three pinnacles of the plot occur, operate on a firm foundation of symbolism. Nature, color and light are used as symbols throughout the novel to illustrate several areas of the story (Waggoner 154). The prison door, for example, was described as being composed of Ã¢â¬Å"oak and ironÃ¢â¬ and its coloring Ã¢â¬Å"sadÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"grayÃ¢â¬ , symbolizing the rigidity of the Puritan society against sinners (Waggoner 154). The rosebush situated outside of the prison door is like a Ã¢â¬Å"moral blossomÃ¢â¬ growing amongst the bitter weeds of society, in the Ã¢â¬Å"most unlikely of placesÃ¢â¬ (Hawthorne). The placement of the rosebush in such a dank, improbable position as outside of a place housing sinners (the prison), imparts the fact that such an element of beauty and innocence is nevertheless able to be born out of a station with such an ill aura. Pearl is symbolic of the rosebush in that she was spawned from the same evil air of sin (Waggoner 156). However, her purity is just as real as that which comes from a origin of virtue (Waggoner 156). She is often associated with roses (Waggoner 156). For example, in the governorÃ¢â¬â¢s she cries and pleas that she must have one (Waggoner 156). In addition, her very name is an indication of the symbol she conveys (Waggoner 157). Like a pearl comes from the mangled, impure exterior of the oyster, Pearl comes from the equally impure and squalid exterior of the sin her parents willingly committed (Waggoner 157). Another nature related symbol comes in the forest. The forest itself holds its own variety of symbolism. Ã¢â¬Å"FreedomÃ¢â¬ is one expression of the forest. There is no reason for Hester and Dimmesdale to be secretive among the trees where no one can witness their union (Matthiessen 299).