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导读:河南财经政法大学本科生毕业论文An Analysis of Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter浅析《红字》中象征主义手法的运用院系名称 姓 学 专 名 号 业外国语言文学系 [在此处键入作者姓名] [在此处键入学号]

黑龙江科技大学论文要求及格式范文
黑龙江科技大学论文要求及格式范文

河南财经政法大学本科生毕业论文An Analysis of Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter浅析《红字》中象征主义手法的运用院系名称 姓 学 专 名 号 业外国语言文学系 [在此处键入作者姓名] [在此处键入学号] [在此处键入专业名称] [在此处键入指导教师姓名和职称]指导教师2010 年 5 月 25 日

An Analysis of Symbolism in The Scarlet LetterA Thesis Submitted to Foreign Languages Department of Henan University of Economics and Law in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of ArtsBy XXX Supervisor: XXX May 25, 2010

河南财经政法大学 毕业论文开题报告所在系:外国语言文学系 学 号:2003402148 专 业:英 姓 名:XXX 语毕业论文题目:An Analysis of Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter 1. Aim and Significance: Nathaniel Hawthorne is a great romantic novelist in America in the nineteenth century. He is deeply influenced by Puritanism consciousness, Transcendental philosophy and mysticism. As a result, instead of giving the objective description of the world, he always gives a symbolic meaning to an objective thing to express his true understanding of the world, trying his best to discover the hidden meaning through the symbols. Therefore, if we want to deeply understand Hawthorne’s writing style, it is essential for us to make a thorough research on the symbols and symbolism in his works. The Scarlet Letter is Hawthorne’s masterpiece, which makes him well known around the world, and it is also one of the most remarkable works in American literature. This novel with an everlasting glamour mainly lies in Hawthorne’s skillful handling of symbolism. From the title to the arrangement of the plot, then to the description of the characters and objects, the author uses only a few words to express rich meanings, which leaves us much room for imagination. The author of the paper develops a deep interest in The Scarlet Letter after having finished reading this novel. What strikes the author most is the scarlet letter ―A‖. It runs through the whole novel, and manifests in various forms at different time, places and scenes. Furthermore, the meaning of the scarlet letter ―A‖ becomes richer and more complicated as the plot further develops. 2. Main Methods and Ways of Studies: The research into the symbolism in The Scarlet Letter can make readers deeply understand Hawthorne’s writing style. First, by way of exploring the various symbolic meanings of the scarlet letter ―A‖ to different characters and the changing symbolic meanings of the scarlet letter ―A‖ at different time, places and scenes, the thesis can help

readers have a better understanding of the rich meanings of the letter ―A‖ in the novel and the process of moral growth of the main characters. Second, the research into the symbolic meanings of the characters’ names, various objects in the novel and the symbolic meanings of Pearl can make readers deeply understand Hawthorne’s unique artistic writing characteristics, the profound social significance revealed by the novel and the author’s writing aims. 3. Reference Books and Materials Available: Brown, H. D. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2002. David, Crystal. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 1997. 刁培萼. 教育文化学[M]. 南京: 江苏教育出版社, 2000. 范蔚. 新课程标准视野下的课堂教学审美化[J]. 西南师范大学学报. 2003, 3: 83~87. 4. Timetable of the Thesis Writing: Time arrangement for the writing plan is as follows: Before December 4, 2009, hand in the presentation of the paper. Before April 12, 2010, hand in the first draft of the paper. Before May 24, 2010, hand in the final paper.指导教师意见:指导教师签名: 2009 年 12 月 8 日

AbstractNathaniel Hawthorne is a great romantic novelist in America in the 19th century. As a great romantic novelist, Hawthorne is outstanding in handling application of symbolism. The Scarlet Letter is Hawthorne’s most important symbolic novel, which is the best work of Hawthorne and one of the indubitable masterpieces of American Literature. And it is this novel that makes Nathaniel Hawthorne known all around the world. In this work, Hawthorne uses the symbolism so skillfully that it enhances the artistic effects of his work greatly. In The Scarlet Letter, symbolism runs through the whole novel. The most important symbol is the scarlet letter itself. Not only does ―A‖ manifest in various forms, but also it has changing meanings from ―adultery‖ to ―able‖, even ―angelic‖ in the novel. Besides, the name of the four major characters in the novel: Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger Chillingworth and Pearl also have their own symbolic meanings. Some other objects and natural surroundings that are described in the novel such as the jail, the forest, the rose bush and so on are all endowed with a deep symbolic significance. The author of the thesis will explore the usage of symbolism in The Scarlet Letter from the three aspects mentioned above and analyze Hawthorne’s skillful use of symbolism in The Scarlet Letter.Key Words: the scarlet letter;symbolism;Hester Prynne;Pearl(在正文之前使用罗马数字页码)i

摘 要纳撒尼尔· 霍桑是十九世纪美国伟大的浪漫主义小说家。

作为一位伟大的浪 漫主义小说家,霍桑对象征主义手法的运用可以说是独具匠心。

长篇小说《红字》是霍桑重要的象征主义代表作品,无疑也是美国文学浪漫 主义时期最著名的作品之一。

也正是这部巨著使得霍桑誉满全球。

在这部作品中, 作者巧妙运用了象征主义手法, 加强了作品的艺术效果。

整篇作品象征主义手法 贯穿始终。

其中,最重要的要数红字“A”本身的象征意义。

它不仅以各种各样 的形式出现,并且其象征意义不断变化,从“通奸”到“有能力的”甚至“天使 般的” 。

此外,小说中四个主要角色:海丝特,丁梅斯代尔,齐灵沃斯,珠儿也都 有其各自的象征意义。

小说中描述的景物和场景,例如监狱、森林、玫瑰花园等 等也都寓意深刻。

本文正是从以上这几个方面着手,探究作者在小说《红字》中 对象征主义手法的巧妙运用。

关键词: 红字;象征;海丝特·普琳;珍珠ii

AcknowledgementsThis thesis is the product of the author and the supervisor’s three months of efforts. It has been repeatedly revised under the guidance of Professor XXX. It was the joint efforts of both the author and the teachers in Business English Department. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Professor XXX and the teachers who have helped the author in the process of the thesis writing. I will also give my thanks to my classmates and friends who have helped me revise the thesis. Last but not least, I will give my heartfelt thanks to my parents who have been always supporting and encouraging me.iii

ContentsIntroduction ................................................................................................................ 1 1 Various Symbolic Meanings of the Scarlet Letter “A” .......................................... 3 1.1 The Change of the Symbolic Meanings of the Scarlet Letter ―A‖....................... 3 1.1.1 Adultery......................................................................................................... 3 1.1.2 Alone and Alienation..................................................................................... 4 1.1.3 Able, Admirable and Angel ........................................................................... 4 1.2 The Scarlet Letter and the Strictness of Puritan Society ...................................... 5 2 The Symbolic Meaning of the Four Main Characters ........................................... 5 2.1 Hester Prynne ....................................................................................................... 5 2.2 Arthur Dimmesdale .............................................................................................. 6 2.3 Roger Chillingworth ............................................................................................ 7 2.4 Pearl ..................................................................................................................... 9 3 The Symbolic Meanings of the Objects in the Novel ........................................... 11 Conclusion .................................................................................................................. 14 Bibliography ............................................................................................................... 15(一级标题加粗,二级标题不加粗)iv

IntroductionNathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem in 1804. He was born in a prestigious New England family closely related with Puritan church; his ancestors attended the persecution of people belonging to different churches, such as Quakers. When he was born, his family declined. He was aware of his ancestors’ misdeeds and thus ―blackness of Hawthorne‖ formed. He thought that the reason of his family’s decline is his ancestors’ misdeeds. And he didn’t agree with the optimism held by Transcendentalists towards human nature. He wrote lots of works on everlasting evil side in human nature. Hawthorne graduated from Bowdoin College. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Franklin Pierce, the 14th American presidents were his classmates. After graduation, he lived in seclusion and wrote. Later, he worked in the US Custom House. After Pierce became president, he was asked to be the consular in Liverpool and Italy. Hawthorne’s masterpiece includes his short story collections: Twice-Told Tales; Moses from an Old Manse and novels: The Scarlet Letter; The House of Seven Gables; The Blithedale Romance; The Marble Faun. Hawthorne’s writing skills can be summarized as follows: Hawthorne seems to be influenced a lot by the sin and evil in his sense. He believes evil exists in human heart all the time. For example, in the novel The Scarlet Letter, the minister Dimmesdale tries to pretend how pure and pious he is. He wants to cover up the evil in his mind. Not only Dimmesdale wants to do like this, but also all the people in the world, because we are only human beings. And the evil just likes a mark that exists in our mind when we are born. And in Hawthorne’s mind, people who commit a crime must be punished, because people can get experience from this way. And also he supports people to tell the truth and not to offend. Nathaniel Hawthorne is a great romantic novelist in America in the 19th century and is considered to be the first greatest American fiction writer in the moralistic tradition. Hawthorne is outstanding in literature skill, especially in handling symbolism. His work — The Scarlet Letter1

is notable for its symbolism and is regarded as the first symbolic novel in American literature. The story begins in seventeenth-century Boston, which is under Puritan command. The husband — an old and ugly scholar, sends a young woman, named Hester Prynne, ahead to America. However, for many years, he himself doesn’t arrive. Obviously, it is possible that he has been lost in the sea. While waiting for her husband, Hester and a young local minister called Arthur Dimmesdale fall in love with each other. They commit adultery secretly. Because of Hester’s Pregnancy, the secret is finally discovered. Hester and Dimmesdale love each other. But their love is forbidden in that strict society. It is sinful. Due to this fact, Hester is punished by society with a letter ―A‖ on her chest, which is considered to be an evil, a shame. Hester is brave enough to face the cruel society. She is always with a mind of courage. She has been alone with her child for so long a time, with little communication. Hester has to wear the letter ―A‖ day by day, seven years as for punishment and ill fame. However, Hester is a kind-hearted woman and is always ready to help other people in the community without expecting any thanks. Later, people in the town no longer view the scarlet letter A as a punishment, but rather as representing her great strength and bravery and they say it means ―Able‖. But Arthur Dimmesdale, his sin against Hester and Pearl is that he will not acknowledge them as his wife and daughter in the daylight. He is too weak to admit his sins. He suffers from mysterious heart trouble, seemingly caused by psychological distress. What’s worse, he is an advisor to the townspeople about their sins. After Mr. Dimmesdale’s death, no one changes more in appearance than Roger Chillingworth. All his strength and energy has been used to harm his patient. This unhappy man has made his aim in life to add to the suffering of the young minister. When the evil old man no longer has such a purpose, the devil takes him back to the hell. The Scarlet Letter is a cultural allegory, in which the author indirectly tells the future of Puritanism. The Scarlet Letter is a sample in which American Romanticism adapted itself to American Puritanism. The theme of the story should2

1 Various Symbolic Meanings of the Scarlet Letter “A”1.1 The Change of the Symbolic Meanings of the Scarlet Letter “A”In this novel, the scarlet letter ―A‖ changes its meanings for many times. This change is very significant. It shows growth in the characters, and the community in which they live. At the very beginning, the letter ―A‖ is regarded as a kind of sin or evil. Then with the development of the story, it becomes a symbol of alone and alienation of the female character Hester. Finally, it becomes a symbol of able, admirable and angel.1.1.1 AdulteryIn the novel, the letter ―A‖, worn on Hester ’s bosom, is a symbol of her adultery against Roger Chillingworth. Putting the letter ―A‖ on her bosom and letting her show to the public is the puritan way of treating her as a criminal, for the crime of adultery. Hester is looked down upon as if she is some sort of demon from hell that commits a terrible crime. This letter is meant to be worn in shame, and to make Hester feel unwanted. This is the common way to explain the symbolic meaning of the letter. The color of scarlet is the symbol of blood and desire. Hester and Dimmesdale cannot control their love for each other and become the criminals of God. A woman loses her purity and a holy minister is punished for bringing shame to his holy occupation. Red should be regarded as the symbol of love and life, but under the control of the Puritan strictness, Hester has to wear the scarlet letter ―A‖ in order to be regarded as a symbol of shame and punishment. ―Here, she said to herself, had been the scene of her guilt, and here should be the scene of her earthly punishment…‖ (Brown,2002:123) Hester is ashamed of her sin, but she chooses to face the reality rather than escape from it. Many people may choose the way of leaving for some other places where nobody knows of her sin. However, Hester is brave enough to continue to live her life, which shows great strength and integrity of her.3

1.1.2 Alone and AlienationThe scarlet letter ―A‖ also symbolizes Hester’s lonely life in New England. Hester ’s social life is virtually eliminated as a result of her shameful past. She has to live in such a community regardless of others’ ironical words and with great courage and ability. ―It had been built by an earlier settler, and abandoned, because the soil about it was too sterile for cultivation, while its comparative remoteness put it out of the sphere of that social activity which already marked the habits of the emigrants.‖ Hester comes to have a part to perform in the world with her native energy of character and rare capacity‖ (Chase, 1957). However, there was nothing that made her feel as if she belonged to it. Every gesture, every word, and even the silence of those with whom she came to contact, implied, and often expressed, that she was banished, and as much alone as if she inhabited another sphere, or communicated with the common nature by other organs and senses than the rest of human kind. She stood apart from moral interests… seemed to be the sole portion that she retained in the universal heart.‖ Hester has no friends in the world, and little Pearl is the only companion of her lonely life. In other people’s eyes, Hester is a criminal and most of them regard communicating with her as a shameful thing. Therefore, the scarlet letter ―A‖ is also a symbol of alone and alienation.1.1.3 Able, Admirable and Angel―The letter was the symbol of her calling. Such helpfulness is found in her so much power to do and power to sympathize — that many people refuses to interpret the scarlet letter ―A‖ by its original signification‖ (Rubinstein, 1988). We can see that the meaning of the scarlet letter ―A‖ changes from adultery to being able, angel and admirable. At the beginning, people living in the town looked down upon the woman because of her crime. But later, they find that Hester is so skillfully in needlework and she always help the poor and sick without expecting any return or thanks. She is unselfish and always ready to help others considerately and patiently. People in the town then realize her noble nature and change the view on her. ―Do you see that woman with the embroidered badge? It is our Hester — the town’s own Hester —4

who is so kind to the poor, so helpful to the sick, so comforting to the afflicted‖ (Hawthorne, 1994). The people in the town soon begin to regard the letter ―A‖ as a badge served to ward off the evil. This is a kind woman who should not shoulder the shame and be looked down upon by others. Hester is an angel sent by God to the people in the town. And she should win the respect and sympathy of others instead of being punished by having to show her crime to the public by wearing the scarlet letter. People and the author of the novel really admire her pure nature and ability. The three changes in the scarlet letter are significant; they show the progressive presentation of her sin, her lonely life, and her ability. Hester is an admirable woman who experiences more emotional torture than most people go through in a lifetime.1.2 The Scarlet Letter and the Strictness of Puritan SocietyThe Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the scarlet letters to symbolize he harshness of Puritan society, showing how they branded sinners for life. Although Puritan society is unforgiving towards the sinful scarlet letter, their strictness improved the bearers of the sin. The scarlet letter was also an example of how Puritan society will always remember the sin. ―When strangers looked curiously at the scarlet letter-and none failed to do so, they branded it afresh into Hester’s soul‖ (Hawthorne, 1994). A letter ―A‖ but freshly green, instead of scarlet was created by h er, showing how Hawthorne made a jest at the punishment Puritans put upon Hester. And the scarlet letter was also a toy to Pearl, something that she enjoyed. Hawthorne uses the scarlet letter to depict his feelings of the exaggerated emotions of the puritans and their dramatic punishments. The author of the paper thinks that the symbolism in this novel is used quite skillfully. The technique Hawthorne uses makes his novel more artistic.2 The Symbolic Meaning of the Four Main Characters2.1 Hester PrynneHester Prynne is one of the most important characters in The Scarlet Letter. Hester is the symbol of love, beauty, kindness and truth. She was described by5

Hawthorne like this: ―The young woman was tall, a figure of perfect elegance on a large scale, she had dark and abundant hair, so glossy that it threw off the sunshine with a gleam, and a face which, besides being beautiful from regularity of feature and richness of complexion, had the impressiveness belonging to a marked brow and deep black eyes…‖ (Harold, 1990: 104). It is true that Hester is beautiful and attractive in appearance. But the most precious part of the character lies not only in her kindness toward other people, but also in her great courage of facing her love. Her love for the minister Dimmesdale is pure and true. This is the reason that she refuses to speak out the name of her partner in sin, but takes over all the punishment by herself. Instead of running from the hostile colonists, Hester withstands people’s insolence and pursues a normal life. She proves her worth with her uncommon sewing skills and provides community service. Hester ’s sin gives her ―sympathetic knowledge of the sin in other hearts.‖ Even though the people she tries to help ―often reviled the hand that was stretched forth to succor them‖ (Xia, 1996: 34). She continues her services because she actually cares. At last, the colonists come to think of the scarlet letter as ―the cross on a nun’s bosom‖, which is not small accomplishment. Hester is the homophone of the word haste. At first, she gets married to Roger Prynne, an ugly man who gives his best years to feed the hungry dream of knowledge. Not having got the news about her husband who should have arrived by ship from England, she falls love with Arthur hastily and gives birth to Pearl, for which she is condemned to wear on the breast of her gown the scarlet letter ―A‖, which stands for adultery. However, the author of the paper thinks that it is natural and understandable. Hester has the freedom to pursue the true love of her deep heart and the happiness of the life. The punishment of puritan society is somehow too harsh on a woman who is led by human instinct. She doesn’t love her husband and when she falls in love with Dimmesdale, she is tortured physically and mentally for her sin. The strictness of Puritan society accounts for Hester’s sympathetic fate and Dimmesdale’s tragedy.2.2 Arthur DimmesdaleArthur Dimmesdale is a young minister, whose initials are AD, which also6

stands for adultery. Obviously, he should take part in the punishment for Hester. He loves Hester deeply and is the father of Pearl, but he is not brave enough to admit their relationship. Only in the forest or in darkness, he can show his passion and love for Hester. So the word Dimmesdale also has symbolic meanings. Dim means dark and weak and dale means valley, so the name here is actually a symbol of the ―dim-interior‖ of the clergyman. The scarlet letter ―A‖ in his heart symbolizes his condemn to himself in his deep heart. Meanwhile, it is also the symbol of the mental control of the Puritanism. ―If thou feel it to be for thy soul’s peace, and that thy earthly punishment will thereby be made more effectual to salvation, I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow-sinner and fellow-sufferer‖ (Fan, 2003: 56). He feels that he will never been seen the same as before in front of God, and that no amount of penitence can ever return him to God’s good graces. He hates his hypocrisy to sin, but dares not tell the truth that he is the fellow-sinner of Hester. When he finally decides to expose the truth and tell his followers of how he deceives them, his fixation on his sin has utterly corroded him to the point of death. The only good that comes out of conceding his guilt is that he passes away without any secrets. At the end of the story, the writer put the morals that press upon the readers from the poor minister ’s miserable experience into one sentence, ―Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred‖ (Hu, 1997: 89). As a man, Dimmesdale couldn’t even relate to, and shouldered the obligation. He is not brave enough to admit the truth. However, his tragedy is also the result of the strict puritan society and the psychological tie of the local religion.2.3 Roger ChillingworthAnother main character Roger Chillingworth is a man of complicated nature and abnormal psychology. The words ―chilling‖ and ―worth‖ compose the surname Chillingworth. Chilling comes from the word ―chilling‖ which means this man is a merciless avenger. He is calm and kind in appearance, but keeps evil intentions. All his strength and energy has been used to avenge. This unhappy man has made his aim in life to add to the suffering of the young minister. When the evil old man no longer7

has such a purpose, the devil takes him back to the hell. He is really an unforgivable criminal. According to the explanation of the Christian and the Romantic period, the unforgivable crime means to infringe on others’ soul and feelings in order to know about their reaction toward something. Chillingworth intends to look into the young minister ’s heart depending on some knowledge of medical science and miracle ways in religion. He pretends to be the young minister ’ true friend, moves close to him in order to torture and devastate Dimmesdale’s heart. His curiosity and intention of avenge make him become the symbol of monster and evil. Due to his abnormal psychology, he also becomes a victim in the story. This character symbolizes the great influence of the sin on people. Chillingworth married Hester, a woman with youth and beauty, deluding him with the idea that intellectual gifts might veil physical deformity in a young girl’s fantasy. He married Hester not because he loved her but because he wanted to light a household fire in his lonely and chilly heart. He is a bookworm who spends his best time in libraries, and shows no love to his young wife. It is he that has destroyed Hester ’s flower like youth, and indirectly leads to Hester ’s tragedy. After he discovers that his wife bore another man’s child, Roger gives up his independence. His life center has become punish the man who seduced his wife. For seven years, he digs into the minister ’s heart with pleasure. He searches the minister ’s thoughts; he causes the poor minister to die daily a living death. He searches into the minister ’s dim interior for a long time, and turns over many precious a tread, and as wary an outlook, as a thief entering a chamber where a man lies only half asleep, or, if it may be, broad awake, with purpose to steal the very treasure which this man guards as the apple of his eyes. When he finally found the scarlet letter ―A‖ on the bosom of the minister, he busted out a ghastly rapture. When he does these, he is turning from a victim to a sinner (Hu, 1997: 45). Chillingworth also symbolizes that the avenger ’s life is worthless. When he finds his wife betrays him, he devotes all his time and energy to seeking revenge. He forgets that he needs to lead a new life of his own. Therefore, he is the victim of his own abnormal action. After Dimmesdale reveals his secret to the world, all his strength and energy — all his vital and intellectual force — seemed at once to desert8

him; in so much that he positively withered up, shriveled away, and almost vanished from mortal sight, like an uprooted weed that lies wilting in the sun. He dies less than a year later because he has nothing left to live for.2.4 PearlPearl is one of the most complex and misunderstood symbols in the novel. This character, throughout the story, develops into a dynamic symbol, which is always changing. Pearl is a source of many different kinds of symbolism. Firstly, she is the symbol of her mother ’s sin or the symbol of the scarlet letter. Pearl is also a symbol of valuable thing with high price. And we can understand that Pearl is the beautiful and precious crystallization of her parents’ true love. For the mother Hester, Pearl is love rather than burden. The most significant symbolic meaning of Pearl in the novel is her association with the scarlet letter ―A‖. At the beginning, Pearl is the symbol of her mother ’s shame and crime. She is like the scarlet letter ―A‖ on Hester ’s bosom showing to others that she is a woman committing the crime of adultery. Pearl really is the scarlet ―A‖ on Hester ’s chest showing to others that she is a woman committing the crime of adultery. When Hester stood fully revealed before the crowd, it is her first impulse to clasp Pearl closely to her bosom; not so much by an impulse of motherly affection, as that she might thereby conceal a certain token, which was wrought or fastened into her dress. Pearl is the scarlet itself which is endowed with her life. And in most people’s eyes, she is Hester ’s burden and shame. Meanwhile, Pearl also symbolizes her parents’ true love. She is the crystallization of her parents’ true love (Xia, 1996: 78). The author describes in the novel that Pearl likes the scarlet letter so much. So we can see that the close relationship between little Pearl and the scarlet letter. Their common nature is that they are both the crystallization of love and the hopeful future of humankind. Pearl is a very beautiful girl. There was fire in her and throughout her; she seemed the unpremeditated offshoot of a passionate moment. Hester named her daughter ―pearl‖, as being of great worth, purchased with all she had. She is her only9

important treasure. Although Hester has so much trouble foe having Pearl, she still feels that Pearl is her treasure. Pearl is the most important part of her mother ’s life. If she had never been come into this world, Hester would have never been found guilty of adultery, and thus never would have had to wear the scarlet letter ―A‖ on her chest. However, if Pearl is not in her life, she will lose the courage of going on her life and almost have committed suicide. It is Pearl who brings hope and joy to Hester ’s life and gives her mother the courage to live. After Hester gets the permission to still keep Pearl at her side, Mistress Hibbins invites her to go to the forest to meet the Black Man together with her. But Hester refuses and says, with a triumphant smile, ―I must tarry at home, and keep watch over my little Pearl. Had they taken her from me, I would willingly have gone with thee into the forest, and signed my name in the Black Man’s book too, and that with mine own blood‖ (Hawthorne, 1994: 98). It is Pearl that saves Hester from the Satan’s snare. Pearl also symbolizes moral in this novel. The moral she is meant to teach is that Hester and Dimmesdale should fully commit their sin and then take the responsibility for their sin. The first thing Pearl see in her infancy is the scarlet letter, causing her mother intense agony at the shame it generated in her. Later, she plays a game when she throws flowers at her mother and jumps around in glee every time, hitting the scarlet letter (Diao, 2000: 204). She also makes her own letter ―A‖ to wear. When she finds Hester removes the scarlet letter from her chest in the forest, Pearl starts screaming and convulsing and refuses to cross the stream until Hester reattaches the letter. She is really a constant mental and physical reminder to Hester of what she has done wrong. With Pearl at her side, Hester will never escape the punishment of her wrong deed. Moreover, Pearl is the person who eventually makes Dimmesdale admit to his crime. She constantly asks why the minister keeps putting his hand over his heart, and figures it out that it is for the same reason that her mother wears the scarlet letter. Her role as a living scarlet letter is to announce to the whole world whom her guilty parents are. After Dimmesdale manages to keep the mother and daughter together in the governor ’s hall, Pearl responses amazingly. She takes his hand and places her10

cheek against it. This simple gesture is full of meaning, because it implies that Pearl recognizes Dimmesdale as being connected to her. Meanwhile, Pearl’s stand of urging the minister to commit his sin is firm. When Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold where Hester suffered her public humiliation several years before, he meets Hester and Pearl, who have been at Governor Winthrop’s deathbed, taking measurements for a robe; he invites them to join him on the stand. When all three hold hands, Pearl asks Dimmesdale, Wilt thou stand here with mother and me, tomorrow noontide?‖ Dimmesdale answers, ―Not so, my child, I shall, indeed, stand with thy mother and thee, one other day, but not tomorrow‖ (Hawthorne, 1994). Pearl laughs and attempts to pull away her hand until the minister promises to take her hand and her mother ’s hand at ―the great judgment day‖. When they later meet in the forest, Hester says to Pearl, ―He loves thee, my little Pearl, and loves thy mother too. Wilt thou love him?‖ Pearl says, ―Doth he love us?‖ Then asks, ―Will he go back with us, hand in hand, we three together, into the town?‖ The answer is ―not now‖ (Hawthorne, 1994: 44). So when Dimmesdale impresses a kiss on her brow before they leave the forest, Pearl broke away from her mother, and, running to the brook, stooped over it, and bathed her forehead, until the unwelcome kiss was quite washed off… At the end of the novel, when the minister climbs up the scaffold with the help of Hester and Pearl, confessing his sin to his followers, Pearl kisses his lips. She accepts her father finally. Pearl’s role as the living scarlet letter is over, and Dimmesdale, who finally takes responsibility for his sin, has learned the moral, which she is meant to teach.3 The Symbolic Meanings of the Objects in the NovelIn The Scarlet Letter, most of the objects that are described in the novel have many symbolic meanings. The novel is filled with light and darkness symbols because it represents the most common battle of all time, good versus evil. When Hester and her daughter are walking in the forest, Pearl exclaims: ―Mother, the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on you bosom. Now see! There it is, playing a good way off. Stand you here, and let me run and11

catch it. I am but a child. It will not flee from me, for I wear nothing on my bosom yet‖(Hawthorne, 1994). Hester tries to stretch her hand into the circle of light, but the sunshine vanishes. She then suggests that they go into the forest and have rest. This short scene actually represents Hester ’s daily struggle in life. The light represents what Hester wants to be, which is pure. The movement of the light represents Hester ’s constant denial of acceptance. Hester ’s lack of surprise and quick suggestion to go into the forest, where is dark, shows that she never expected to be admitted and is resigned to her station in life. Another way light and darkness is used in symbolism is in the way Hester and Dimmesdale’s plan to escape is doomed. Hester and Dimmesdale meet in the shadows of the forest with a gloomy sky and a threatening storm overhead when they discuss their plans for the future. The gloomy weather and shadows exemplify the fact that they can’t get away from the repressive force of their sins. It is later proven when Dimmesdale dies on the scaffold! Instead of leaving with Hester and going to England. A final example occurs in the way Hester and Dimmesdale cannot acknowledge their love in front of others. When they meet in the woods, they feel that no golden light had ever been so precious as the gloom of this dark forest. This emotion foretells that they will never last together openly because the sin has separated them too much from normal life. The opening chapter introduces several of the images and the themes within the story to follow. The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison. The prison represents several different symbols. Foremost it is a symbol for the Puritanical severity of law. The description of the prison indicates that it is old, rusted, and yet strong with an iron-clamped oaken door. This represents the rigorous enforcement of laws and the inability to break free of them. The prison also serves as the symbol of the authority of the regime, which will not tolerate deviance. Hawthorne directly challenges this notion by throwing the name Ann Hutchinson into the opening pages. Hutchinson was a religious woman who disagreed with the Puritanical teachings, and as a result was imprisoned in Boston.12

Hawthorne claims that it is possible the beautiful rosebush growing directly at the prison door sprang from her footsteps. But, on one side of the portal, and rooted almost at the threshold, was a wild rose-bush, covered, in this month of June, with its delicate gems, which might be imagined to offer their fragrance and fragile beauty to the prisoner as he went in, and to the condemned criminal as the came forth to his doom, in token that the deep heart if Nature could pity and be kind to him. This implies that the Puritanical authoritarianism may be too rigid, to the point of obliterating things of beauty. The rose bush is a symbol of passion. As will later become obvious, Hester ’s sin is one of passion, thus linking her crime to the image of the rosebush. Hawthorne also indirectly compares Hester with Ann Hutchinson via the rosebush, and again makes the same parallel in Chapter 13, another view of Hester. Hawthorne cleverly links the rosebush to the wilderness surrounding Boston, commenting that the bush may be a remnant of the former forest, which covered the area. This is important, because it is only in the forest wilderness where the Puritans’ laws fail to have any force. Thus the image of the rosebush serves to foreshadow that some of the passionate wilderness, in the form of Hester Prynne, may have accidentally made its way into Boston. The rosebush in full bloom indicates that Hester is at the peak of her passion (Brown, 2002). This parallels the fact that Hester has just born a child as a result of her passion. The child is thus comparable to the blossoms on the rosebush. Hawthorn’s comment that the rose may serve as a moral blossom in the story is therefore actually saying that Hester ’s child will serve to provide the moral of the story. After Hester is released from prison, she finds a cottage in the woods, near the outskirts of the city. Her choice of habitation is crucial to the symbolism within the novel. The forest represents love, or the wilderness where the strict morals of the Puritan community cannot apply. Thus, when Hester makes her home on the outskirts of the city, directly on the edge of the woods, she is putting herself in a place of limbo between the moral and the immoral universes. This is important because it shows that Hester does not live under the strict Puritanical moral code, but rather tries to live in13

both worlds simultaneously. Hawthorne uses the forest to provide a kind of shelter for members of society in need of a refuge from daily Puritan life. In the deep, dark portions of the forest, many of the pivotal characters bring forth hidden thoughts and emotions. The forest track leads away from the settlement out into the wilderness where all sign mandates of law and religion, to a refuge where men, as well as women, can open up and be themselves. It is here that Dimmesdale openly acknowledges Hester and his undying love for her. It is also here that the two of them can openly engage in conversation without being preoccupied with the constraints that Puritan society place on them. When Hester takes Pearl with her to the Governor ’s Hall in order to plea with Governor Bellingham to let her keep Pearl, whom the Governor felt would be better raised in a more Christian household, Pearl looks around in the mansion and sees the shiny metal of the Governor ’s suit of armor. She then calls her mother ’s attention to the fact that the convex shape of the armor grotesquely magnifies the scarlet letter, causing it to appear gigantic. Hester feels that Pearl must be an imp who was seeking to mold itself into Pearl’s shape. It is the symbol of the Puritan society’s ever–lasting punishment to her sin (Harold, 1990: 64).ConclusionAs a great romantic novelist in America in 19th century, Hawthorne was outstanding in handling the application of symbolism. The Scarlet Letter is Hawthorne’s most important symbolic novel, which stands as the best work of Hawthorne and one of the indubitable masterpieces of American literature. This thesis aims at the exploration of the usage of the symbolism in the novel. It mainly discusses the deep symbolic significance of the scarlet letter ―A‖ and the four main characters. The scarlet letter is the central symbol of the novel. Its symbolic meaning changes from ―adultery‖ to ―able‖, even ―angelic‖ in the novel (Chase, 1957: 56). It also examines the symbolic meanings of little Pearl and some typical natural surroundings such as the jail, the forest, the rose bush and so on.14

BibliographyBrown, H. D. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2002. Chase, Richard. The American Novel and Its Tradition. New York: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1957. Harold, Bloom. Hester Prynne. London: Chelsea House Publishers, 1990. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter: Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press and Oxford University Press, 1994. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 1998. Peter B,High. “Chapter 11” in An Outline of American Literature: Longman Inc, 1986. Roger,Asselineau. “Hemingway’s English Reputation” in The Literary Reputation of Hemingway in Europe: New York University Press, 1965. Rubinstein, Annette T. American Literature Root and Flower. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 1988. 崔道怡.“冰山理论”:对话与潜对话[M],北京:工人出版社, 1987. 刁培萼.教育文化学[M]. 南京: 江苏教育出版社, 2000. 刁绍华.海明威[M],辽宁:辽宁出版社,1980. 范蔚. 新课程标准视野下的课堂教学审美化[M]. 西南师范大学学报,2003, 3: 83~87. 傅景川.二十世纪美国小说史[M],吉林:吉林教育出版社,1996. 胡荫桐,刘树森. 美国文学教程[M].天津:南开大学出版社,1997. 夏晓珍. 红字中象征手法的运用[J]. 益阳师专学报,1996,3: 23~26.其他: 网页: Lynch, E. W. What is Cultural Competence, http://www.casanet.org/library/culture/ competence.htm, (accessed 05/04/2008). 译著: Nedjalkov, Vladimir P. (ed.). Typology of Resultative Constructions, trans. Bernard Comrie. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 1983/1988.15

赵元任. 中国话的文法 [M](A Grammar of Spoken Chinese).丁邦新译. 香港: 香港中文大学出版社. 1968/1980.(参考书目不使用数字排序。

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