What does scarlet letter mean

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scarlet letter

what does scarlet letter mean

Scarlet Letter Society: the meaning behind the name.

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Top definition. A visible symbol of something you have done wrong and regretted, or a stigma of a past mistake you made that follows you. The Puritans required adulterers to wear a scarlet letter, the letter "A" with a scarlet red color on a necklace as a penance for their wrongdoing. A hot underage girl. Cause you were Romeo , I was a scarlet letter, And my daddy said stay away from Juliet. Shaniqua : Have you read the Scarlet Letter? Shanaynay : Yes, it is the reason I cut my wrists.

Set in Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony during the years to , the novel tells the story of Hester Prynne who conceives a daughter through an affair and then struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. The book explores themes of legalism , sin , and guilt. The Scarlet Letter was one of the first mass-produced books in America. Critics have described it as a masterwork [4] and novelist D. Lawrence called it a "perfect work of the American imagination". In June , in Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, a crowd gathers to witness the punishment of Hester Prynne, a young woman who has given birth to a baby of unknown parentage. She is required to wear a scarlet "A" on her dress when she is in front of the townspeople to shame her.

For example, Hester's daughter Pearl becomes a living embodiment of the letter, and a version of the letter has apparently been burned into Arthur Dimmesdale's flesh, whether by human or supernatural means. The letter also appears momentarily in the form of a meteor that flashes across the sky. The mutability of the letter characterizes all of the symbols in the novel: All are ambiguous; none can be distilled into a single meaning that is the same for all people and all time. Sign In. What does the scarlet letter symbolize? Home Cliff's Notes Subjects What does the scarlet letter symbolize? All Subjects Accounting How can banks afford to lend out so much money?

The scarlet letter is meant to be a symbol of shame, but instead it becomes a powerful symbol of identity to Hester. The child has been sent from God, or at least from nature, but the letter is merely a human contrivance. More often than not, a symbol becomes a focal point for critical analysis and debate. To Dimmesdale, the meteor implies that he should wear a mark of shame just as Hester does. The Puritans commonly looked to symbols to confirm divine sentiments. In this narrative, however, symbols are taken to mean what the beholder wants them to mean.



What does the scarlet letter symbolize?

At the end of the novel, Dimmesdale makes a speech and exposes his chest to the community gathered around the scaffold, then dies. A short time later, Chillingworth also dies and leaves his fortune to Pearl; Pearl and Hester go abroad, but Hester returns alone years later to live out her days quietly in the New England community. The ending turns the story into a narrative of redemption, and one in which good triumphs over evil. She will not be haunted by her past, and most likely lives the happy life that Hester was denied. However, while the ending does allow for redemption and peace, it is not, strictly speaking, a happy ending. Rather, the ending shows how individuals can learn from past mistakes, even if they also have to live with the consequences of those actions.

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Video SparkNotes: Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter summary

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