Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Scarlet Letter

Dear all,

This week we are going to talk about symbolism. Writers and movie directors sometimes use commonly recognized symbols and sometimes invent their own. Symbolism is the use words or images to represent something else. For example, the color white could be used to represent peace or purity. In some cultures it represents mourning (Port. luto). Why is it important to understand symbols in a poem, a novel or a movie? Sometimes we can fully understand the meaning of a masterpiece only if we know the importance of the ideas or images used.

I hope you enjoyed The Scarlet Letter movie. Can you identify any symbols used in the movie? What do you think they could represent?

Best wishes,



  1. Hi teacher, we found some symbols:
    - The red bird symbolize the love between Hester and the reverend. When they met at first, she followed the bird and then she saw him when he was swimming in the river. It was an attraction, as if the brid attract each other. The bird was present in all the happy and important moments.

    - The white cloth was a code between them. When she was in jail, she used to put the white cloth on the window, so he could know that she wanted to talk to him.

    - Pearl's birth mark - for the inhabitants if a person had a birth mark, that person was a witch.

    - The letter "A" symbolize the sin. She commit adultery because she got pregnant when her husband was away.

    Group: Marcela Souza,Dayana Santos, Dandara e Beatriz.

  2. Hello Marcela, Dayana, Dandara and Beatriz!

    Very interesting comments here. I was especially curious to know what you thought about the bird.

    Color is also highly symbolical in the book and in the movie. Does the color red mean anything to you? What about the white cloth? Do you think the color white symbolizes anything?


  3. Simbologism in Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne

    The Scarlet Letter – Symbolizes the shame of Hester's public punishment for adultery. The sin committed by the woman is carried and remembered in the letter, as she would had taken in the breast the mark of the humiliation by the mistake she committed.
    Pearl (Daughter) – She is the living symbol of the scarlet letter. Represents the human symbol of the sin of adultery, is the consequence of the prohibited love between Hester and Dimmesdale. More importantly Pearl leads Hester and Dimmesdale to accept their sin, 'cause they need to care of the child.
    Indian Ritual (the death in the beginning and with Roger Prynne, in the house) – Shows the native culture, with beliefs and religious activities different from the puritans practices.
    Scarlet Bird - Is like an influence, it encourages the characters to make something hidden, for example, at the moment that Hester sees the bird, it leads she to the lake, and even though it is disrespectful to look at a naked man taking a bath, she continues to look at it and be satisfied with what she sees. The same happens with the maid, who, through the bird, realizes that it is a good time to get into the tub of Hester and also takes pleasure in do it. Therefore, the bird is one that shows the wrong way, and encourages people to do and to like what they will do, even knowing how wrong it is.

    Group: Marcia Macedo, Jaqueline, Marcela e Priscila

  4. Correção dos nomes dos componentes do grupo acima:

    Marcia Macedo, Jaqueline, Isabela e Priscila Bento