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A Character Analysis of Pearl in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Assignment id 1003813
Discipline Writing
Assignment type Essay
Words 1822
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A Character Analysis of Pearl in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Word Count Includes Outline at the End of the Paper The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a book of much symbolism. Among the most complex and misunderstood symbols in the book is Pearl, the illegitimate daughter of Hester Prynne and Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Through the novel Pearl develops into a dynamic symbol; one that is constantly shifting. In the following essay, I'll explore Hawthorne's symbolism of Pearl from birth, age , and age . Also, I will try to disprove the notion that Pearl is branded with a metaphorical scarlet letter "A" representing amorality; instead she reflects the immorality of her mother's adultery. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne, for her sins, received a scarlet letter "A" which she had to wear upon the "breast of her gown"(Hawthorne 39). This was the Puritan way of treating her as a criminal for the crime of adultery. The Puritan therapy of Hester did not stop simply with the mission of the letter. As she walked through the streets, she was looked down upon as if she were some kind of evil spirit among them, being penalized for some ghastly crime. This gave Hester much psychological distress and grief. On the flip side, God's remedy of Hester for her sin was rather different compared to the scarlet letter. He gave Hester the punishment of rearing a very distinctive child whom she named Pearl. "But she named the infant "Pearl," as being of excellent cost, - purchased with all she had, - her mother's only treasure!" (Hawthorne, 62). Hester named her daughter Pearl because she needed to give everything up, including liberty, for her. This punishment handed down from God was a constant mental and physical reminder to Hester of what she had done wrong. There was no escaping it. Within this aspect, Pearl represented God's method of punishing Hester to its sin of adultery. When she was a baby, "her infant's eyes had been caught by the glimmering of the gold embroidery about the letter" (Hawthorne 67). From arrival, Pearl appeared to be attracted to the scarlet letter "A" that clung to her mother's chest. In a incident when Pearl was a baby she reached up smiling to get with the scarlet letter on Hester's apparel as she stooped over her cradle. This gesture by the infant mortified Hester due to Pearl's innocent comprehension of the underl...

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