What Does The Rosebush Symbolize In The Scarlet Letter

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Symbols are a part of everyday life for almost every single person. If someone is religious, they may take communion in which wine represents the blood of Christ while a wafer represents his body. Literature utilizes symbols as well; although, they may not be as straightforward as symbols in everyday life. Literary symbols, while common today, were at one time fairly uncommon. One of the very first authors to utilize extensive literary symbolism was Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne uses many instances of symbolism including that of the scarlet letter, Pearl, and the rose bush. The scarlet letter is perhaps the largest symbol, and the namesake, of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel; throughout the book, the letter has multiple …show more content…
In the first chapter, Hawthorne writes, “It may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom, that may be found along the track, or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow” (pg 50). This passage is saying that the rosebush symbolizes hope in the worst of times; this especially makes sense when the rosebush’s placement outside the prison door is taken into account. Hawthorne hopes that readers will learn something from the rosebush in context of the story. Readers can assume that the lesson Hawthorne hopes they take away is that, no matter what, the beauty and strength of humanity will not die as Hester’s bravery did not die. The rose bush is referenced again by another symbol, Pearl; the passage states, “The child finally announced that she had not been made at all, but had been plucked by her mother off the bush of wild roses that grew by the prison door” (pg 115). Pearl’s declaration regarding the rosebush shows how the rosebush represents how daring human nature is; Pearl, who is perhaps the most resilient of all the characters, identifies with the rosebush or roses. Pearl possesses a sense of freedom that other characters do not seem to have, and that freedom is apparent in the rosebush. The rosebush’s resilience throughout the story serves as a testament to human nature, beauty, and