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Scarlet Letter: Symbolism of the Rose-bush

“I waited for you”

A rose is the symbol of love in literature, in this case, the author use roses as a way of encouraging optimism and hope when confronted by the negativities of life.  There is always a good side to every situation, rose-bushes had always prevailed, stood its’ way through “the stern old wilderness” even through the darkest of times. Even though the immediate outcome of an event might seem like the “fall of gigantic [trees] that originally overshadow [the rose-bush]”, given time, the shadow will disappear and  in its’ place, hope and positivity shall show itself in the form of roses. The author described the rose-bush as being “wild”, wild in the sense that you find it at the most unexpected times and at places like prisons where you would not expect to see such a sign of grace. The author’s questioning of the origin of the rose being connected to Ann Hutchinson shows that hope is not a limited entity, it can be created and nourished to spread to other people. The roses trailing behind Ann’s “[sainted] footsteps” is the example she had left behind for others, it’s hope that she had seeded so that others may follow her path. The “sweet moral blossom” of a flower in a “darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow” can be interpreted as an image of the beam of light in the dark. In this narrative where Hester Prynne is condemned to what to her seems like an inescapable future of shame and disgrace, there is that rose-bush that can be seen in her child. That even though she went through all this misery, she had her child my her side the whole time, the “sweet moral blossom” of her darkened reality. (p 477)

Published inAnalyzingScarlet Letter

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