Grace and Freedom Amidst Sin and Imprisonment

4 April 2015
A study of contrasting images used to reinforce themes in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

This paper investigates how Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his book The Scarlet Letter presents the reader with a number of contrasting images to reinforce the themes in the book. The author explores three themes in this paper: the nature of women, the problem of guilt, and the contrast between sin and grace.
Hawthorne uses some beautifully crafted images throughout the novel, The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne’s use of contrasting images to reinforce the themes is not only inspired, but creates a richness for the reader that could not exist otherwise. The contrasting images of the prison door and the rosebush create a visible contrast between the imprisonment of sin, as preached by and to the Puritans, and the beauty and wildness of the rosebush, representing human nature, beauty, freedom and grace given to all sinners, both in the prison and outside of the prison.

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The rosebush, placed by God, gives hope to those in the prison, while the prison door, placed there by those who are supposedly civilized, the Puritans, only offer condemnation and shame.

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Grace and Freedom Amidst Sin and Imprisonment. (2015, Apr 23). Retrieved December 5, 2019, from
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