Pearl Symbolism In Scarlet Letter

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2 In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne is introduced to the reader as a woman who has committed adultery, a very serious sin in the eyes of her Puritan community. In order to punish her, the town makes her stand upon a “scaffolding on the pillory, an infant on her arm” as they stare with judgement(41). Hester must also wear a scarlet “A”, representing her sin. It lies on her chest “fantastically embroidered with gold thread” showcasing her sins (41). The over zealous townsfolk see her as a sacrilegious woman. For years she attempts to redeem herself by performing good deed after good deed. Soon society does not seem so far away. Starting off as a symbol of shame and punishment, the scarlet letter later serves as a token …show more content…
The first thing that Pearl “seemed to become aware was the scarlet letter on Hester’s bosom” (66). Pearl soon begins to show a great interest in the scarlet letter. Hester feels obligated to explain to Pearl the reason she is to wear the letter. Despite efforts to do so, Pearl is always fascinated by the evil symbol. Pearl’s beauty made her the “the very brightest little jet of flame” (69). Once again, the reference to fire is a reference to hell. Hester looks at Pearl and notices a “fire in her and throughout her” (69). She knows that Pearl and the scarlet letter have that in common. They both embody Hester’s shameful sin of adultery. Until now, the scarlet letter is associated with only Hester. But, Pearl’s father is revealed as Reverend Dimmesdale. He also carries the symbol under his shirt. Dimmesdale “covers it even from the professional eye”, ashamed by his wrong-doing (95). The minister looks up at the sky and sees “an appearance of an immense letter -- the letter A-- in lines of dull red light”(107). The A is a turning point for Dimmesdale, Hester, and Pearl. They begin to see the letter as a positive

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