Light And Darkness In The Scarlet Letter Essay

This essay has a total of 633 words and 3 pages.

Light And Darkness In The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter, felt that the Puritans were people who
believed that the world was a place where the battle between good and evil was a
never-ending one. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne uses the symbols of light and dark to
depict this battle among the characters Hester Prynne, Pearl, and Roger Chillingworth.


After Hester commits her sin, her beauty almost immediately vanishes into darkness. Her
hair no longer hangs freely about her face, instead she ties it up in a bonnet. Hester is
not perceived as an evil person, but her sin makes her "light" hide away. The sun is used
as a descriptor of the goodness or pure nature of character. Because of her sin and the
scarlet letter, Hester is no longer pure, therefore she is not seen in the sun. Hawthorne
states, "It was only the darkened house that could contain her. When sunshine came again,
she was not there." While on a walk to the forest, Pearl, Hester's daughter states,
"...the sunshine does not love you. it runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of
something on your bosom." This is evidence that the scarlet letter itself may be the cause
of Hester's darkness.


Pearl is the character most recognized for her presence in the sun. She is drawn to the
sun, as the sun is drawn to her. While at the governor's house, Pearl notices how brightly
the sun shines through the windows. She requests that, "the sunshine be stripped off its
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