Good Hooks For Essays About Symbolism In The Scarlet

Symbols and Symbolism in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Essay

2336 Words10 Pages

Thesis Statement and Outline

Thesis Statement: Nathaniel Hawthorne used symbolism to bring meaning into his book
"The Scarlet Letter."

I. Symbolism
A. Definition
B. Style

II. Symbolism in characters
A. Hester
B. Dimmesdale
C. Chillingworth
D. Pearl

III. Symbolism in objects
A. The scarlet letter
B. The scaffold
C. The forest
D. The brook

IV. Symbolic relations between characters and objects
A. Characters and the scarlet letter
B. Characters and the scaffold
C. Pearl and the forest

Nathaniel Hawthorne used symbolism to bring meaning into his book "The Scarlet Letter." Generally speaking, a symbol is something that is used to stand for something else. In literature, it is most often a…show more content…

He is at liberty to manipulate his

materials, to shape them freely into meaningful

patterns, so long as he does not violate the truth

of the human heart ( Waggoner p. 69 ) .

It is in the four major characters that Hawthorne's powers as a symbolist are brought into fullest play. Each of his major characters symbolizes a certain view of sin and its effects on the human heart ( Dibble p. 80 ) . Hester Prynne is warm, alive, human - so much so that it is difficult to determine just where Hawthorne's sympathies lie. She is a queenly figure who may have gotten her name from the biblical Esther. "Queen Esther is a woman of courage, beauty, dignity, selflessness. Hester Prynne has all these qualities ( Bloom, p. 121 ) ." She seems a virtual saint, a woman who walks in humility and patience but to others she is an unbending woman of pride, who glories in her sin. This glorifying of her sin is expressed the symbol she is forced to wear. Hester practices the art of symbolic overlay by which her community gives meaning and distinction to experience, and she suffers from the symbolism that she herself purveys ( Bloom, p. 130). After several years Hester, the "woman taken in adultery," rises to saintliness as she becomes an "angel of mercy" to the community but her dreams of a new order of society can find no expression in her life and resignation is all she has to take the place

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An effective opening, or hook for The Scarlet Ibis would be to discuss the relationship between brothers.  One question that the story asks is whether brothers can also be friends. 

Clearly in this story, there are conditions that prohibit the two brothers from being equals.  Doodle is handicapped and Brother, as the older sibling has a difficult time understanding Doodle's limitations. He is ashamed of his little brother's lack of ability to run and jump while he thoroughly...

An effective opening, or hook for The Scarlet Ibis would be to discuss the relationship between brothers.  One question that the story asks is whether brothers can also be friends. 

Clearly in this story, there are conditions that prohibit the two brothers from being equals.  Doodle is handicapped and Brother, as the older sibling has a difficult time understanding Doodle's limitations. He is ashamed of his little brother's lack of ability to run and jump while he thoroughly enjoys running and jumping. 

A good bridge, or comparison in the story is to link Doodle with the Scarlet Ibis, the rare red bird of the title.  Doodle and the bird have alot in common.  The bird is symbolic for Doodle's inner beauty.  Although Doodle is physically deformed, his inner spirit is beautiful. 

"The fact that Doodle is the only member of the family to care for the scarlet ibis enough to bury it shows his compassionate heart and emphasizes a symbolic link between boy and bird. This symbolic link is confirmed when Doodle dies on the same day as the bird and in a way that mirrors its fate."

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