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Symbolism Presentation Lori Melkonian AP English Mrs. Halajian.

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Presentation on theme: "Symbolism Presentation Lori Melkonian AP English Mrs. Halajian."— Presentation transcript:

1 Symbolism Presentation Lori Melkonian AP English Mrs. Halajian

2 The Letter A

3 What is the significance of the letter A? Hesters sin of adultery Hesters sin of adultery Dimmesdales guilt Dimmesdales guilt The shame of the crime The shame of the crime The burning passion between Dimmesdale and Hester The burning passion between Dimmesdale and Hester The love and unity between Hester and Pearl The love and unity between Hester and Pearl Hester sacrificing her reputation for all of her societys personal sins Hester sacrificing her reputation for all of her societys personal sins Envy people have of Hesters strength and growth Envy people have of Hesters strength and growth The communitys need to find a scapegoat The communitys need to find a scapegoat

4 Visuals of the symbols significance SHAME GUILT UNITY LOVE PASSION SACRIFICE ENVY

5 The Letter A in The Scarlet Letter But the point which drew all eyes, and, as it were, transfigured the wearer,-so that both men and women, who had been familiarly acquainted with Hester Prynne, were now impressed as if they beheld her for the first time,- was the SCARLET LETTER, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and inclosing her in a sphere by herself. (Chap. 2, pg. 46) But the point which drew all eyes, and, as it were, transfigured the wearer,-so that both men and women, who had been familiarly acquainted with Hester Prynne, were now impressed as if they beheld her for the first time,- was the SCARLET LETTER, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and inclosing her in a sphere by herself. (Chap. 2, pg. 46) – Introduces her sin of adultery – The attention it draws to her offense – Her permanent seclusion – The embarrassment it brings to her name

6 The Letter A in The Scarlet Letter And now, Mistress Prynne, said old Roger Chillingworth, as he was hereafter to be named, I leave thee alone; alone with thy infant, and the scarlet letter! How is it, Hester? Doth thy sentence bind thee to wear the token in thy sleep? Art thou not afraid of nightmares and hideous dreams? (Chap. 4, pg. 65) And now, Mistress Prynne, said old Roger Chillingworth, as he was hereafter to be named, I leave thee alone; alone with thy infant, and the scarlet letter! How is it, Hester? Doth thy sentence bind thee to wear the token in thy sleep? Art thou not afraid of nightmares and hideous dreams? (Chap. 4, pg. 65) – He leaves responsibility with her – Pearl and letter A remind her of her sin – Sleep is the only time of rest: even then she will be reminded

7 The Letter A in The Scarlet Letter Hester sought not to acquire any thing beyond a sustenance, of the plainest and most ascetic description, for herself, and a simple abundance for her child. Her own dress was of the coarsest materials and the most sombre hue; with only that ornament,-the scarlet letter,-which it was her doom to wear. The childs attire, on the other hand, was distinguished by a fanciful, or, we might rather say, a fantastic ingenuity, which served, indeed, to heighten the airy charm that early began to develop itself in the little girl, but which appeared to have also a deeper meaning. (Chap. 5, pg. 20) Hester sought not to acquire any thing beyond a sustenance, of the plainest and most ascetic description, for herself, and a simple abundance for her child. Her own dress was of the coarsest materials and the most sombre hue; with only that ornament,-the scarlet letter,-which it was her doom to wear. The childs attire, on the other hand, was distinguished by a fanciful, or, we might rather say, a fantastic ingenuity, which served, indeed, to heighten the airy charm that early began to develop itself in the little girl, but which appeared to have also a deeper meaning. (Chap. 5, pg. 20) – Society disregards her talent due to her wrongdoing – Brings down her own value – Feels guilty: spoils her child

8 The Letter A in The Scarlet Letter Another peculiar torture was felt in the gaze of a new eye. When strangers looked curiously at the scarlet letter,-and none ever failed to do so,-they branded it afresh into Hesters could; so that, oftentimes, she could scarcely refrain, yet always did refrain, from covering the symbol with her hand…She shuddered to believe, yet could not help believing, that it gave her a sympathetic knowledge of the hidden sin in other hearts. (Chap. 5, pg. 72) Another peculiar torture was felt in the gaze of a new eye. When strangers looked curiously at the scarlet letter,-and none ever failed to do so,-they branded it afresh into Hesters could; so that, oftentimes, she could scarcely refrain, yet always did refrain, from covering the symbol with her hand…She shuddered to believe, yet could not help believing, that it gave her a sympathetic knowledge of the hidden sin in other hearts. (Chap. 5, pg. 72) – Taking blame for others sins: Jesus – Society finding a scapegoat – Sacrifice of her own reputation

9 The Letter A in The Scarlet Letter But she named the infant Pearl, as being of great price,-purchased with all she had,-her mothers only treasure! How strange, indeed! Man had marked this womans sin by a scarlet letter, which had such potent and disastrous efficacy that no human sympathy could reach her, save it were sinful like herself. (Chap. 6, pg. 74) But she named the infant Pearl, as being of great price,-purchased with all she had,-her mothers only treasure! How strange, indeed! Man had marked this womans sin by a scarlet letter, which had such potent and disastrous efficacy that no human sympathy could reach her, save it were sinful like herself. (Chap. 6, pg. 74) – Irony of Pearls beauty with her origin – Hester gave her soul for Pearl: most valuable

10 The Letter A in The Scarlet Letter Hester looked, by way of humoring the child; and she saw that, owing to the peculiar effect of this convex mirror, the scarlet letter was represented in exaggerated and gigantic proportions, so as to be greatly the most prominent feature of her appearance. In truth, she seemed absolutely hidden behind it. (Chap. 7, pg. 8) Hester looked, by way of humoring the child; and she saw that, owing to the peculiar effect of this convex mirror, the scarlet letter was represented in exaggerated and gigantic proportions, so as to be greatly the most prominent feature of her appearance. In truth, she seemed absolutely hidden behind it. (Chap. 7, pg. 8) – Governor wore armor in battle just as Hester wears letter in battle with society – Even high rank have sins which they hide – Mirror is a reflection: letter A taken over Hesters life – Pearl amazed at shimmer of armor just as the letters glitter

11 The Letter A in The Scarlet Letter Ghost of a mother.-thinnest fantasy of a mother,- methinks she might yet have thrown a pitying glance towards her son! And now, through the chamber which these spectral thoughts had made so ghastly, glided Hester Prynne, leading along little Pearl, in her scarlet garb, and pointing her forefinger, first, at the scarlet letter on her bosom, and then at the clergymans own breast. (Chap. 11, pg.121) Ghost of a mother.-thinnest fantasy of a mother,- methinks she might yet have thrown a pitying glance towards her son! And now, through the chamber which these spectral thoughts had made so ghastly, glided Hester Prynne, leading along little Pearl, in her scarlet garb, and pointing her forefinger, first, at the scarlet letter on her bosom, and then at the clergymans own breast. (Chap. 11, pg.121) – Connects Dimmesdale and Hester: his visions, her nightmares-occur in brain – He experiences her pain – Relation: Pearl pointing, heart is made of chambers

12 The Letter A in The Scarlet Letter Nor do I,-whom the scarlet letter has disciplined to truth, though it be the truth of red-hot iron, entering into the soul,-nor do I perceive such advantage in his living any longer a life of ghastly emptiness, that I shall stoop to implore thy mercy. Do with him as thou wilt! (Chap. 14, pg. 143) Nor do I,-whom the scarlet letter has disciplined to truth, though it be the truth of red-hot iron, entering into the soul,-nor do I perceive such advantage in his living any longer a life of ghastly emptiness, that I shall stoop to implore thy mercy. Do with him as thou wilt! (Chap. 14, pg. 143) – Pride from her troubles – Lesson shes learned – Letter A disciplined her to tell truth – Shift in character

13 The Letter A in The Scarlet Letter Not more by its hue than by some indescribable peculiarity in its fashion, it had the effect of making her fade personally out of sight and outline; while, again, the scarlet letter brought her back from this twilight indistinctness, and revealed her under the moral aspect of its own illumination. Her face, so long familiar to the townspeople, showed the marble quietude which they were accustomed to behold there. It was like a mask; or rather, like the frozen calmness of a dead womans features; owing this dreary resemblance to the fact that Hester was actually dead, in respect to any claim of sympathy, and had departed out of the world with which she still seemed to mingle. (Chap. 21, pg. 186) Not more by its hue than by some indescribable peculiarity in its fashion, it had the effect of making her fade personally out of sight and outline; while, again, the scarlet letter brought her back from this twilight indistinctness, and revealed her under the moral aspect of its own illumination. Her face, so long familiar to the townspeople, showed the marble quietude which they were accustomed to behold there. It was like a mask; or rather, like the frozen calmness of a dead womans features; owing this dreary resemblance to the fact that Hester was actually dead, in respect to any claim of sympathy, and had departed out of the world with which she still seemed to mingle. (Chap. 21, pg. 186) – Letter A is her only connection to society – All the tortures she experienced made her numb – Personality faded

14 The Letter A in The Scarlet Letter The whole gang of sailors, likewise, observing the press of spectators, and learning the purport of the scarlet letter, came and thrust their sunburnt and desperado- looking faces into the ring. Even the Indians were affected by a sort of cold shadow of the white mans curiosity, and, gliding through the crowd, fastened their snake-like black eyes on Hesters bosom; conceiving, perhaps, that the wearer of this brilliantly embroidered badge must needs be a personage of high dignity among her people. (Chap. 22, pg. 202) The whole gang of sailors, likewise, observing the press of spectators, and learning the purport of the scarlet letter, came and thrust their sunburnt and desperado- looking faces into the ring. Even the Indians were affected by a sort of cold shadow of the white mans curiosity, and, gliding through the crowd, fastened their snake-like black eyes on Hesters bosom; conceiving, perhaps, that the wearer of this brilliantly embroidered badge must needs be a personage of high dignity among her people. (Chap. 22, pg. 202) – Society stereotyped her – Letter A allowed them to take their sins out on her: scapegoat – Deserves higher rank after extreme retribution

15 How does the symbol help you understand the story? Mentioned often Mentioned often Helps reader relate events Helps reader relate events Symbolizes many things: helps connect the plot Symbolizes many things: helps connect the plot Not only connects characters to each other: to environment, society, and their religion Not only connects characters to each other: to environment, society, and their religion Foreshadows Foreshadows – Ex: Dimmesdale holds his aching heart beacuase of being Hesters partner in crime.

16 The End.


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