The Scarlet Letter

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Red and Black Symbol Analysis

Red and Black Symbol Icon
Red symbolizes the glow of Hester's passion. Black represents the devil and sin. Chillingworth, for instance, refers to their shared fate as a "black flower." The inscription on the tombstone Hester and Dimmesdale share says "On a field, sable, the letter A, gules," which means "On a black background, the scarlet letter burns."
Get the entire The Scarlet Letter LitChart as a printable PDF.
The scarlet letter.pdf.medium

Red and Black Symbol Timeline in The Scarlet Letter

The timeline below shows where the symbol Red and Black appears in The Scarlet Letter. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Sin Theme Icon
...prison was most likely built upon the founding of Boston and describes prisons as the "black flower of civilized society." (full context)
Puritanism Theme Icon
Nature Theme Icon
Next to the prison door stands a blooming wild rose bush . The narrator imagines that perhaps the rose bush grows in such an unlikely place... (full context)
Sin Theme Icon
Individuality and Conformity Theme Icon
Puritanism Theme Icon
Nature Theme Icon
The narrator describes the rose bush as sitting on the threshold of the story he plans to tell. He then plucks... (full context)
Chapter 2
Sin Theme Icon
Individuality and Conformity Theme Icon
Puritanism Theme Icon
...tall, with a head of dark glossy hair, and a beautiful face with deeply set black eyes. She has a lady-like dignity, which the narrator says never was more powerfulor beautiful... (full context)
Chapter 8
Puritanism Theme Icon
Nature Theme Icon
Mr. Wilson asks Pearl who made her. Pearl says that she was plucked from the rose bush just outside the prison door. (full context)
Chapter 12
Sin Theme Icon
The Occult Theme Icon
...Dimmesdale delivers his most powerful sermon ever. Afterward, the church sexton returns to Dimmesdale a black glove he found on the scaffold, saying Satan must have left it there. He mentions... (full context)
Chapter 14
Sin Theme Icon
Individuality and Conformity Theme Icon
Hester says she must tell Dimmesdale about Chillingworth. He responds that their fate, a "black flower," is no longer in anyone's hands. He apologizes to Hester for not having offered... (full context)
Chapter 23
Sin Theme Icon
Individuality and Conformity Theme Icon
Puritanism Theme Icon
...scaffold. He asks them to approach him at the scaffold. Chillingworth warns Dimmesdale not to "blacken" his fame. (full context)