Consequences Of Slavery In Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'The Scarlet Letter'

1553 Words 7 Pages
Meghan Higgins- The Scarlet Letter (Chapter 2) 07/25/2016
“In either case, there was very much the same solemnity of demeanor on the part of the spectators; as befitted a people amongst whom religion and law were almost identical.” (Hawthorne 58) I found this passage regarding the government and society in which this story took place very intriguing due to its drastic contrast with the world we live in today. If the sin that this book revolves around was committed and made public in today’s culture, the consequences wouldn’t have been hardly as dramatic, if there were any consequences at all. The sad fact is that adultery happens openly all over the world today and many people don’t care. I actually disagree with both today’s mainstream culture
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The product of Hester’s adultery was this little child who, because of her mother and father’s sins, was brought into the world doomed to live a life of estrangement and solitude. “Pearl was a born outcast of the infantile world. An imp of evil, emblem and product of sin, she had no right among christened infants.” (Hawthorne 108) However, throughout the book Pearl is a beam of hope and comfort in the life of her mother, even acting as her sole companion. I think the most fascinating aspect of this charactonym can be found when you look deeper into how an actual pearl is made. It begins when a small piece of dirt or dust that doesn’t belong gets inside of an oyster. This causes the oyster to become irritated and excrete a substance that over time builds up around the particle, eventually forming a beautiful pearl. To me this lines up perfectly with the story of Pearl. She began because of the sin of her parents, which is represented by the dirt that is the beginning of the pearl. According to the world she was a mistake and she didn’t belong, just like that little particle in the oyster. However, over time she miraculously grew into a beautiful little child who was a blessing and comfort to her parents during this hard period in their lives. While I’m unsure …show more content…
It was the scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed with life.” (Hawthorne 119) Due to the sinful way that Pearl was brought into the world, she was known by everyone as the “sin born infant.” (Hawthorne 73) Even though her parents’ sin was in no way her fault, its consequences affected her almost as much as them. Since Pearl’s birth, Hester and the rest of the townspeople viewed her much like they viewed the scarlet letter, as a symbol of adultery. While a baby is usually considered a blessing, this was sadly not the case for Pearl. No matter what she did or how she acted, the general public always seemed to find a way to use it to connect her back to her parents’ sin. She was a constant reminder to everyone of what Hester had done.“There was fire in her and throughout her; she seemed the unpremeditated offshoot of a passionate moment.” (Hawthorne 119) Unfortunately, these circumstances made it very difficult for little Pearl to have a normal life. While her mother still loved her, she was not able to give provide her with the joyous childhood that many children were blessed with, due to her own struggles with guilt. At one point she even confessed this to Pearl, saying, “Thou must gather thine own sunshine. I have none to give thee!” (Hawthorne 121)

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