The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, tells the story of Hester Prynne, who was convicted of adultery in colonial Boston. As punishment, Hester was forced to wear the scarlet letter "A- on her chest as a reminder of her sin. Hester gives birth to a child, Pearl, who is the living reminder of Hester's adulterous act. Hawthorne uses a great deal of symbolism to discuss various themes throughout the novel. One recurring symbol is the rose-bush which is introduced in the first chapter. This rose-bush grows outside the prison door amidst unsightly vegetation. The rose-bush can be compared to Pearl, who is the gift Hester has been given as result of her punishable sin. Pearl is Hester's rose; she is beautiful and brings joy to Hester. Yet every rose has its thorn, and likewise Pearl is the living reminder of Hester's sin. The rose-bush is also a symbol of Hester's passion and survival. .
"Before this ugly edifice, and between it and the wheel-track of the street, was a grass-plot, much overgrown with burdock, pig-weed, apple-peru, and such unsightly vegetation, which evidently found something congenial in the soil that had so early borne the black flower of civilized society, a prison. But, on one side of the portal and rooted almost at the threshold, was a wild rose-bush, covered, in this month of June, with its delicate gems, This rose-bush, by a strange chance survived out of the stern old wilderness - (45-46). Hawthorne describes this rose-bush which survives amidst other weeds outside the prison where Hester is serving her punishment. Hester gives birth to Pearl as a result of her adulterous act. Pearl can be compared to this beautiful rose-bush growing outside the prison. Hester's life in the Puritan colony has not been ideal. She is labeled as a sinner and looked down upon by society. She is forced to wear the scarlet letter as a reminder to all of her sin.