Scarlet Letter Essay

The Scarlet Letter Essay In the extraordinary novel The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a very unusual main character named Pearl. At the beginning of the novel, she is just an innocent infant who is abhorred by all the townspeople because of the sin her mother, Hester Prynne, committed before Pearl was born. In this novel, Pearl is a static character and living symbol of sin. In the beginning, the reader is introduced to Pearl as the infant “whose innocent life had sprung… a lovely and immortal flower, out of the rank and luxurious of a guilty passion” (59).

Hawthorne describes Pearl as an impeccant infant who is brought to the world without knowing she is a symbol of sin. “God, as a direct consequence of the sin… had given her [Hester Prynne] a lovely child” (59). Pearl is Hester’s living representation of the exquisite scarlet letter that Hester has to wear on her bosom for the sin she committed. Pearl is a gift sent to Hester from God, but Pearl was not sent with the normal qualities kids generally contain. “Hester could not help questioning at such moments whether Pearl was a human child” (61). Pearl surprises her mother with all the aberrant actions she does at the beginning of the novel.

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At the governor’s hall Pearl is introduced to Governor Bellingham. Bellingham asks Pearl who made her and she replies that she was not made at all but plucked off the bush of wild roses. This answer astonishes the governor and even Hester because the real answer is that she was created by God. The governor is concerned Pearl is not learning what a child must know at her age. As she gets a few years older, Pearl shows no development as a character. She is still a peculiar little girl. “Pearl was a born outcast of the infantile world” (62). Children give Pearl dirty looks and talk about her constantly.

The kids know the story of Pearl and choose not to play with her. Pearl did not seem to mind; she stood up for herself when the kids wanted to pick on her. Most children at a very young age get scared and distressed, but Pearl is the complete opposite. She is not use to meeting new people or socializing with anyone either. Pearl is a ceaseless reminder of Hester’s sin which was committed with Arthur Dimmesdale. Pearl points constantly at her mother’s letter frequently which makes Hester keep remembering she has done wrong. It is almost as if Pearl is a tool created to torture Hester for what she has done.

In chapter twelve, Hester and Pearl are walking home from a governor’s funeral and they see Dimmesdale standing on the scaffold. They slowly approach and Dimmesdale tells them to stand with him and they do. “’Wilt thou stand here with mother and me, to-morrow noontide? ’ inquired Pearl” (102). Strange as it may seem, Pear has been starting to make connections with Hester and Dimmesdale. This makes Pearl to be a very curious little one because most kids would have never made any assumption between those two adults. She knows Dimmesdale has to be standing on the scaffold for a certain reason which she seems to capture.


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