Often throughout The Scarlet Letter there are symbolic references made.
The story deals with a Puritan woman who commits adultery and raises an
illegitimate child named Pearl. The author, Nathanial Hawthorne, seems
to be rather fond of using religious and natural images to symbolize
different points, possibly because of his own Puritan background. One
of the purposes of this symbolism is to show that Puritanism is
hypocritical and that their religious viewpoints are against the
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society. This contrast of two almost opposite worlds show a
great deal of hypocrisy among the Puritans. The natural world
symbols show Pearl as a normal good-hearted child, while the
religious symbols show her as not only a horrible mistake, but
as a child that almost teeters on the brink of being possessed
or demonic in some way. The most important part is that it is
the reader's own opinion as to who is correct.