FC: The Scarlet Letter / The Color Red
1: Physical Description: The Scarlet Letter is the letter "A" sown onto the clothing of Hester Prynne using fine red fabric and gold embossing.
2: How the Scarlet Letter is affected by the society in the book: The Scarlett Letter isn't affected in the same way as any other symbols. Only the view, or the meaning of the symbol changes. Throughout the book, society deems this symbol to be a horrid sight that means nothing but bad, some even feared the Scarlett Letter. However towards the end of the book, society moved more towards seeing the symbol as standing for "Awesome," or "able," and having a completely different meaning. What once was the sign of sin, society turned to respect.
4: "On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A." chapter 2 (pg. 6) Hawthorne to the reader.
5: It labels her a sinner (committed Adultery) and introduces the reader to the symbol.
6: "man had marked this woman's sin by a scarlet letter , which had such potent and disastrous efficacy that no human sympathy could reach her, save it were sinful like itself."
7: It signifies to the reader just how powerful the letter is: describing that the letter, if even removed, would still have the same effect on her, as if it became a part of her.
8: "Hath she not expressed this thought in the garb, of the poor child, so forcibly reminding us of that Red Symbol which sears her bosom."
9: She dressed her (pearl) in this color because she is trying to make a statement. Red is the color of the devil, and they call pearl the devil child. Just because pearl is wearing red (devils color) doesn't mean she isn't the joy of Hester's life.
10: "It was so artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy, that it had all the effect of a last and decoration to the apparel which she wore..."
11: It doesn't have the effect that the people wanted it to have; Hester makes it look good.
12: "Once or more, the electric thrill would give her warning- 'Behold, Hester, here is a companion!' and, looking up, she would detect the eyes of a young maiden glancing at the scarlet letter, shyly and aside, and quickly averted, with a faint, chill crimson in her cheeks as if her purity were somewhat sullied by that momentary glare."
13: The scarlet letter, being a symbol of Hester's sins and deeming the 'deeds of the devil' are seen by everyone in Hester's path. Hester notes how she saw a woman whose cheeks grew red after seeing the symbol. This can be compared to the other women of the town, along with Hester herself, that state the Scarlet letter will always remind her of her sins. This also shows the guilt that comes from secret sins that the other women have too.
14: "As he spoke, he laid his long forefinger on the scarlet letter, which for with seemed to scorch into Hester's breast, as if it had been red-hot."
15: This introduces the effect that the scarlet letter has on Hester. She is forced to wear the letter as a punishment for her sins, and the physical letter embroidered upon her shirt seems to scorn her as if the letter itself is punishing her. When pressed against her chest, it can also be seen as a weapon, or tool, which people use to control and punish Hester.
16: "Her mother, in contributing the child's garb, had allowed the gorgeous tendencies of her imagination their full play; arraying her in crimson velvet tunic of a peculiar cut, abundantly embroidered with fantasies and flourishes of gold thread."
17: No one in Puritan times would have worn red, it is an "unholy color." It's often said that red marks the color of the devil. Despite this known viewpoint, Hester dresses pearl in a crimson (red) dress to poke fun at the town, and her accusation itself. She turns something that is supposed to be a wretched symbol (color), and make it beautiful. Pearl is also called the "devils child," this dress symbolizes that as well.
18: "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."
19: This signifies how important, drastic, and "big" the letter effect is on Hester. It basically defines her.
20: "Hester had schooled herself long and well; and she never responded to these attacks, save by a flush of crimson that rose irrepressibly over her pale cheek, and again subsided into the depths of her bosom."
21: The scarlet letter has such an effect that Pearl, Hester's own flesh and blood, takes upon this horrid symbol, foreshadowing the same trait being transferred to her.
22: "As the last touch to her mermaid's garb, Pearl took some eelgrass, and imitated, as best she could, on her own bosom, the decoration with which she was so familiar on her mother's."
23: This signifies how far the color red comes into Hester's life, not just by the scarlet letter. The red mark of the scarlet letter represents sin and the devil, of which when she gets the red in her cheeks, represents how the evil has spread throughout her body. Not responding to the attacks made against her and the response being this redness in her cheek, shows that Hester is in control and uses the scarlet letter (red) to her advantage.