Homework Help

The titular symbol of this novel (the Scarlet Letter) has such conspicuous presence...

user profile pic

benz39 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 14, 2011 at 10:43 PM via web

dislike 0 like
  1. The titular symbol of this novel (the Scarlet Letter) has such conspicuous presence that it is almost a character.  But if it is a symbol, what does it symbolize? 

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

nishasj | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted November 14, 2011 at 11:05 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

The Scarlet Letter 'A' symbolises not just one or two aspects but many. First as regards character it symbolises fiery Nature of Pearl, then it refers to different meanings regarding Hester's Character, on the initial state it stands for Adultrous, then later on it refers to her Angelsome character when she overcomes all her troubles.

user profile pic

StephanieRR | TA , Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted October 25, 2013 at 4:22 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

The scarlet letter A is a symbol of public shame. Hester is made to wear it so that everyone who sees her might know the nature of her sin and shun her. The fact that she has publicly confessed and received punishment means that Hester is able to move on with her life and proceed to try to make up for what she has done. Meanwhile, Dimmsdale, who has not confessed and therefore has no scarlet letter to show the world, is stuck with the agony of his guilt and is unable to enter the stages of redemption.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes