What are 10 examples of figurative language in The Scarlet Letter? Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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With his seminal novel, Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne sets in motion the American predilection for symbol.  And, while symbols are the predominant literary device, there are others that are employed such as imagery and irony:


  • The Scarlet Letter which first represents the sin of adultery that Hester has committed.  Later in the novel, this symbol's meaning changes to that of Angel as Scarlet so selflessly devotes herself to helping the ill of the community.  Then, as Hester nurses the ailing and aged, and sews for others, her symbolic A represents the word Able.
  •  The character Pearl herself is a symbol, representing the sins and passions of her parents, Scarlet and the Reverend Dimmesdale.  In the forest Pearl arranges eel-grass to form a green A on her own breast.
  • The characters of the Reverend Mr. Wilson Governor Bellingham, and Mistress Hibbins are symbolic of the Puritan worlds of church, state, and witchcraft respectively.
  • The groups of unnamed somber and self-righteous Puritans in...

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