Color imagry in the Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne

Essay by ACSOTJunior High, 9th gradeA, November 2002

download word file, 1 pages 2.3

Hawthorne uses color to portray his characters to his readers. He uses this method numerous times in The Scarlet Letter. For example if he wanted a character to be viewed as a good person he would show them in the light. This technique helps the reader view the character in his or her mind. Hawthorne uses colors to contrast each other so the readers can differentiate a good character from a bad one.

Hawthorne uses the colors black and white in governor's house when Hester is pleading for pearl to be left with her. He depicts Pearl, Hester and Dimsdale in the light, while he shows Chillingworth, Governor Bellingham and Mr. Wilson in the dark. He shows this contrast to tell you that Chillingworth, Bellingham, and Wilson want pearl to be taken away from her mother. It also shows that Dimsdale isn't bad but good and he wants to help Pearl and Hester. This also gives the reader a hint to what is going to happen in the story.

Another scene is Pearl and Hester walking through town and pearl is in a bright colorful outfit, while Hester is in a grayish gloomy outfit. This contrast shows the difference in age and how the character is felling. It tells the reader that pearl is carefree. Hester has bland clothing showing that she is carrying a heavy burden from her sin. That is why she is wearing bland clothing and not colorful like pearls.

I thought that the colors helped me use my imagination to picture the charters in the book and how the acted. In doing this I think I had a better understanding of the book. In conclusion I think that achieving a better understanding of the charters was Hawthorne's goal.