This is the first symbol Hawthorne uses throughout the story as a test of who is innocent at this present time and who is not just as they did during the witch trials....
In a work that is apparently never what it seems, drawing upon these symbols for clarity helps to provide the audience with additional depth to the deception that Goodman Brown feels.
The intense tension caused by the competition between the women characters is also shown in “So Long a Letter” when the two men, Modou Fall and Mawdo Bâ, marry their second wives....
‘(4). They differ in the regularity of their colouring. Four colours in particular have been noticeable, orange lowest and nearest the sundown; above this and broader, green; above this, and broader still, a variable red, ending in being crimson; above this, a faint lilac. The lilac disappears, the green deepens, spreads, and encroaches on the orange, and the red deepens, spreads, and encroaches on the green, till at last one red, varying downwards from crimson to scarlet or orange, fills the west and south.
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The widespread sunset effects attracted the attention of many observers, and the Royal Society Report quotes extensively from accounts of the sunsets previously published in the periodical press. One such account is the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins’s letter in the 3 January 1884 edition of Nature. The Royal Society Report offers this summary:
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It was the capital letter A. By an accurate measurement, each limb proved to be precisely three inches and a quarter in length. It had been intended, there could be no doubt, as an ornamental article of dress; but how it was to be worn, or what rank, honour, and dignity, in by–past times, were signified by it, was a riddle which (so evanescent are the fashions of the world in these particulars) I saw little hope of solving. And yet it strangely interested me. My eyes fastened themselves upon the old scarlet letter, and would not be turned aside. Certainly there was some deep meaning in it most worthy of interpretation, and which, as it were, streamed forth from the mystic symbol, subtly communicating itself to my sensibilities, but evading the analysis of my mind.
Scarlet letter symbolism essay
A portion of his facts, by–the–by, did me good service in the preparation of the article entitled “MAIN STREET,” included in the present volume. The remainder may perhaps be applied to purposes equally valuable hereafter, or not impossibly may be worked up, so far as they go, into a regular history of Salem, should my veneration for the natal soil ever impel me to so pious a task. Meanwhile, they shall be at the command of any gentleman, inclined and competent, to take the unprofitable labour off my hands. As a final disposition I contemplate depositing them with the Essex Historical Society. But the object that most drew my attention to the mysterious package was a certain affair of fine red cloth, much worn and faded, There were traces about it of gold embroidery, which, however, was greatly frayed and defaced, so that none, or very little, of the glitter was left. It had been wrought, as was easy to perceive, with wonderful skill of needlework; and the stitch (as I am assured by ladies conversant with such mysteries) gives evidence of a now forgotten art, not to be discovered even by the process of picking out the threads. This rag of scarlet cloth—for time, and wear, and a sacrilegious moth had reduced it to little other than a rag—on careful examination, assumed the shape of a letter.