The Use Of The Letter ‘A’ On The Walking Dead


The final episode of The Walking Dead’s fourth season introduced us to the letter ‘A” when it was written on the side of a train car that the group was going to be held in at Terminus during the break.  That episode was aptly titled “A”.

At that time, “A” was just a minor thing that seemed like a coincidence.  They could have been put into any train car at the supposed sanctuary, but fate had it that the entire group that was imprisoned there was put into the “A” car.

After Carol nearly single handedly took down Terminus, the group moved to Father Gabriel’s church.  But they weren’t safe from the letter “A” there, either.

In an effort to taunt the survivors, The Hunters, led by their charismatic frontman Gareth, painted a big red “A” on the side of the church to remind the group that they are just cattle waiting to be slaughtered.  Of course, Rick and the gang outsmarted The Hunters and slaughtered them inside the church.

But The Walking Dead wasn’t done with the letter “A” quite yet.  In last week’s episode, both Rick Grimes and Jessie got red stamps on their hands from Jessie’s son, Sam.  That stamp was of the letter “A”.

As fans of literature know, a red “A” can have a lot of meanings.  However, it is apt to think of it more like a reference to “The Scarlet Letter”.  In that novel, a person commits adultery and is required to wear a red “A” on her dress as a method of shaming.  With the little peck on the cheek that Rick gave Jessie at the party, is this foreshadowing some kind of romantic relationship between these two individuals even though Jessie is currently married?

Of course, it could be something as simple as Sam wanting to stamp the hands of the survivors he likes with the mark of the community that he lives in.  As we know, Alexandria starts with the letter “A” after all.

With all the use of the letter “A”, it will be interesting to see if this theme continues after this week’s episode.  I’m not sure how much more can be done with that letter.  Plus, it will be interesting to see if the letter “A” has something to do with a clash between the letter “W” that is carved onto the heads of some of the walkers.

Be sure to tune in next week to The Walking Dead to find out a bit more about these themes going forward.  The next episode is set to air Sunday, March 15th at 9 pm EST.  As always, check your local listings for actual time and availability.

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