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Discuss the symbolic signisicance of the title of Hawthorne's novel:"THE SCARLET...

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saami | Student, Undergraduate | Salutatorian

Posted September 12, 2011 at 5:43 PM via web

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Discuss the symbolic signisicance of the title of Hawthorne's novel:"THE SCARLET LETTER"

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smhaskovec | Middle School Teacher | eNoter

Posted September 12, 2011 at 9:52 PM (Answer #1)

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Toward the beginning of The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is forced to wear a scarlet letter "A" on her clothing at all times because it was discovered (that though married) she'd had an adulturous union with an unknown man and bore a daughter. At first, Hester's punishment continually haunts Hester and separates her from the other members of her community. However, through the course of the novel, we see the letter burn, glow, and change, as though taking on a life of its own. In fact, because Hester does not flee from wearing the brilliant red symbol of adultery, and stands up to what she's done, she "purge(s) her soul" and is able to achieve a new life with more "purity than that which she had lost." Therefore, the title is significant because it not only refers to the punishment Hester initially receives but also to the way Hester achieves salvation and becomes superior to her fellow citizens by bearing it without shame and facing her past and her fears.

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dssnmurthy | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted September 12, 2011 at 11:55 PM (Answer #2)

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The Scarlet letter as  the title signifies the scare or a mark which Hester bears on her dress as a Letter 'A" which can be expanded as adultrous which means a married woman having an affair with another man, the church minister. she bores a child and names Pearl signifies purity. Though the  crime of adultrous is punishable before law she herself undergoes a psychological toture within her by wearing the letter 'A ' for her and her daughter which reminds of her sin and wants to repent it before god.

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