20 Scarlet Letter Themes for your Successful College Essay

20 Scarlet Letter Themes for your Successful College Essay

Writing a book summary or analysis of a classical literary piece is a common assignment that students should be ready to complete every day. Its nature forces you to read an original story, test your writing skills, and delve into the author’s commentaries and opinions. What are interesting Scarlet Letter themes? The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a rich novel in terms of its ideas, and that’s why many teachers choose it for this type of academic writing.

A list of great ideas

If you need to write a book summary on the Scarlet Letter and you don’t know how to choose a good topic idea, look for useful suggestions. What are they? Use these top Scarlet Letter themes for your inspiration:

  • Pearl’s role in the transformation of Hester,
  • Physical settings and their functions in the Scarlet Letter,
  • The exploration of Hester’s identity,
  • The analysis of Chillingworth’s revenge ideas,
  • The effectiveness and purpose of sphere imagery,
  • The narrator vs the Puritan: use of symbols,
  • Pearl is a symbol of Hester’s conscience,
  • Differences between Dimmesdale and Hester,
  • Pearl: a curse of a blessing for her mother,
  • Different literary devices: their types and use in the Scarlet Letter,
  • When a woman gains personal power and breaks cultural bonds,
  • Hester Prynne: a saint or a sinner,
  • The Scarlet Letter: a commentary on American history,
  • Contrasting behaviors of adults and children in the plot,
  • Conformity and hypocrisy in the Scarlet Letter,
  • The Scarlet Letter is the embodiment of romanticism,
  • The Puritan community and sins: compare punishments for men and women,
  • Inherently flawed people: Hawthorne’s ideas,
  • Explore how symbolism, word choice, and tone contribute to character development,
  • Hester: her self-created identity and the image created by the society.

Feel free to tweak these interesting Scarlet Letter themes. Don’t hesitate to refine them to end up with a relevant and substantial thesis for your literary analysis of this famous book. Please check our narrative essay topics as well.

The Scarlet Letter: major themes

Different themes in this novel apply to different characters, and the most important ones include:

  • Identity,
  • Sin,
  • Hypocrisy,
  • Revenge.

The author also touches moral issues, passion, etc. Cite interesting phrases in your academic paper.


This theme is most applicable to Hester because people determine her identity for her from the very beginning of the story. For example, they publicly shame her and force Hester to wear the A on clothes to let everyone know that she is an adulteress. Hester is a very complex character. She forms her unique identity as the plot continues.

Hester is an independent and strong woman, but she takes her role as a mother too seriously because of her isolation from other people. She tries to be good to others and help them. That’s why the A changes from a sin mark to the symbol of her self-empowerment as Hester keeps developing her identity. Read the text to find strong evidence. Decide what your thesis statement will be.


The Puritans were quite an intense group of Christians who didn’t believe in dancing or music, and they’re very cruel to sinners, though every person sins. What does sinning mean? Ask this question to end up with an original topic.

Although the Puritans consider all sins to be equally bad, the Scarlett Letter introduces a different point of view, and its plot opens with Hester being shamed for her adultery that everybody in the town knows about. The novel deals with the sins of Dimmesdale and Chillingworth.

Chillingworth suspects Dimmesdale of being Pearl’s father, but he decided to live with that and keep tormenting him instead of revealing everyone what he knows. Dimmesdale suffers a huge sin because he’s a hypocrite. He earns public respect by denying his sins. Both characters die in the end, thus showing readers that their sins deserve harsh punishment, not the act of adultery that Hester committed.


The author shows this theme in the Scarlet Letter through Dimmesdale who seems to be a much better man than Chillingworth, but he lies to himself. The story shows how dangerous it can be. The entire community respects him because Dimmesdale is a church leader and a talented orator who helps people when they have problems. He condemns Hester for adultery while being her lover. People treat Hester as an outcast and praise Dimmesdale as an honorable man, though they took part in the same sin. His guilt and hypocrisy ruin his life.


Chillingworth is a man who scares all readers because the author portrays him as the epitome of evil, and his primary act is seeking revenge. He never loved Hester. Chillingworth is angry to find out about another’s man child. He thinks that public humiliation is a good punishment for her and decides to find her lover and torture him. Chillingworth gets close to Dimmesdale as a doctor. He represents revenge to an extreme and forces Dimmesdale to confess his sins in front of other people in the town. Chillingworth dies because his mission is over.

Final comments

Major Scarlet Letter themes of hypocrisy, sin, revenge, identity, and others are still important in modern non-Puritan society. Use the above-mentioned examples and ideas to write an interesting and compelling literary analysis, impress your professors, and earn high grades. These suggestions will help you improve writing skills.

What if you need help? If you face some complex challenges with your homework and don’t know where to find good Scarlet Letter themes, get expert assistance online. Make sure that rights are reserved. Copyright law and plagiarism are essential. Experienced online writers will suggest you a range of great Scarlet Letter themes for your next book summary or analysis.