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The Scarlet Letter: the use of light and dark

             As the novel begins, there is a dark atmosphere about the town. Hester Prynne is brought out to the scaffold that gloomy afternoon and is condemned for committing adultery. As the story progresses, the reader meets new characters, all of them with their own dilemma. The situations presented in the novel either have a light side, thus meaning good, or an evil darker side. These situations add drama to the novel, giving the novel life. The use of light and dark is frequently used to represent good and evil, in the novel The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. .
             The literary theme light versus dark is used by many authors to depict strong feelings in a story. The use of the light and dark settings will establish the mood for the reader depending on the description. The author could use a bright and sunny day to create the mood, in this case, peaceful, loving and happy. In contrast to this, the author could also use a gloomy and dark setting to make the mood scary and evil. Darkness is used to portray hatred and punishment, or in the puritan society sin. The novel The Scarlet Letter is mainly a gloomy, dark story because it is centered on sin in the puritan society.
             Through out The Scarlet Letter, light is used to show happiness and goodness. One of the most happy and cheerful characters in the novel is Pearl, who is represented by the light. As Fogle (1969) states, "Pearl is the character most recognized for her presence in the sun" (p. 38). The sun is drawn to her as she is drawn to the sun. In one scene, while in the forest with her mother, Hester, Pearl realizes that sun does not shine on her mother but it does in fact shine on herself. She thinks it may have something to do with the letter "A" on her mother's chest, but she is not certain. Pearl loves to play in the sun, as said before, she is drawn to it. She would rather play in the sun with nature, alone, than playing with children of her own age.

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