An analysis of symbol significance in the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne

As we realize, following Hester's function of adultery, she became pregnant with Pearl and we find the sense that there is something peculiar and unnatural about her when fist introduced.

An analysis of symbol significance in the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne

Depilation[ edit ] Punitive depilation of men, especially burning off pubic hairwas intended as a mark of shame in ancient Mediterranean cultures where male body hair was valued. On at least one occasion he likened this to the fate of Cain described in the Book of Genesiswriting to the Count of Nevers: The Lord made Cain a wanderer and a fugitive over the earth, but set a mark upon him, Modern orange prison uniforms serve the same purpose, only with a highly visible bright color to make it difficult to hide.

Stripes were adopted as simple one-color uniforms could easily be dyed to another color; dying a striped uniform cannot hide the stripes. They were temporarily abolished in the United States early in the 20th century because their use as a badge of shame was considered undesirable as they were causing constant embarrassment and exasperation to the prisoners.

A prominent example is Maricopa County Jail under the administration of Joe Arpaiowhere black and white stripes are used.

SparkNotes: The Scarlet Letter: Chapters 15–16

Another predominantly used color scheme consists of orange and white stripes. A person wearing this kind of clothing is distinctly marked and can unmistakably be identified as a prison inmate from a far distance, which allows citizens to instantly identify escapees and notify the authorities.

Skin[ edit ] Societies have marked people directly in the practice generally known as being "branded a criminal". Criminals and slaves have been marked[ when? In traditional British and American schoolrooms, the tall conical " dunce cap ", often marked with the letter "D", was used as the badge of shame for disfavored students.

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This was primarily done to visually earmark the captive individuals so onlookers could distinguish their status upon first sight. It also had a symbolistic connotation in those divesting prisoners of their clothes meant divesting them of their rights and social status.

Notably taking away the footwear of an unfree person and thereby forcing him or her to remain in bare feet has been used for visibly marking captives, prisoners and slaves in almost every culture.

This customary practice is still commonplace in prisons of many countries. As bare feet are a highly noticeable visual attribute in almost every social situation, this particular form of appearance often incidentally raises suspicion or disdain among bystanders. It also serves to dishearten prisoners and frustrate attempts of escape.

An analysis of symbol significance in the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne

The ability to walk or run quickly is hereby often drastically reduced. As the feet are the only body part with near permanent contact to the environment, their lack of protection can have a victimizing effect and make the person feel physically defeated, helpless or vulnerable which adds to the shaming effect.

Wearing shoes is a low-level and natural manifestation of civil rights and liberties, which cannot be revoked from free citizens of any culture under normal circumstances.

Even when suffering neediness in ancient history, simple forms of footwear were handmade from available materials, while today simple shoes are sufficiently inexpensive to be purchased in practically every part of the world.

Forcing a subdued person to go barefoot is therefore used to showcase his or her deprivation of the most basic rights and natural liberties. It hereby displays the subjugation of the person under individuals with sufficient authority to impose and enforce certain living conditions.

By abiding it also establishes that the person does not have the self-determination, means or power to resist. Forcing individuals to remain barefoot against their will is, therefore, a common method to display and exercise authority and showcase the flagrant disproportion of power usually found in situations of imprisonment.

Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter

Exploiting the effects it is often used to intimidate captives or prisoners and cut their self-confidence. Restraints[ edit ] Presenting a prisoner to the public in restraints such as handcuffsshackleschains or similar devices has always served as a method of shaming the person as well.

An analysis of symbol significance in the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne

In addition to their practical use of preventing movement and escape, they are usually uncomfortable to wear and often lock the body in unnatural positions. Especially restraining the hands of a captive behind his or her back is perceived as particularly shameful, as it renders the person practically defenceless and showcases his or her physical defeat to onlookers.

The effect is often multiplied by combining means of marking people such as the use of prison uniforms or similar clothing like penitential garbs and the exposure of bare feet. Other meanings[ edit ] The yellow badge that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany as a badge of shame Nazi concentration camp badges of shame were triangular and color-coded to classify prisoners by reason for detention, [30] and Jews wore two triangles in the shape of the six-pointed Star of David.

After World War Ithe U. War Department awarded gold chevrons to soldiers serving in the combat zones in Europe. The silver chevrons awarded for honorable domestic service in support of the war effort were instead considered a badge of shame by many recipients.Symbolism of The Scarlet Letter “A” “On a field, sable, the letter A, gules” (Hawthorne ).

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a story of a woman named Hester Prynne who overcomes the pestering punishment of wearing the scarlet “A”.

After she is released from prison, Hester remains in Boston because

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Symbols Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. The Scarlet Letter. The scarlet letter is meant to be a symbol of shame, but instead it becomes a powerful symbol of identity to Hester.

The letter’s meaning shifts as time passes. Explanation of the famous quotes in The Scarlet Letter, including all important speeches, comments, quotations, and monologues.

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SparkNotes: The Scarlet Letter: Important Quotations Explained