Pearl Symbolism In Scarlet Letter

Improved Essays
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

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Pearl’s role in The Scarlet Letter is largely significant because she deters Hester from evil and its’ temptations. Not only do her actions deem her human, but she proves to the town through her actions that she is not what they thought she was. Pearl develops into quite the young lady and she also begins to take matters into her own hands by questioning the authority figures around her. Her rise to the level of main character is supported by the fact that she matures into a more realistic and believable character. The tale of Pearl captures her forwardness towards the townspeople in her pursuit, along with her significance to the novel as a whole, and the fascinating development of her rise to the title of main…

    • 1283 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    When she starts to show signs of her condition, she is thrown in jail. In addition to her jail time, Hester must always wear a scarlet letter A on her bosom which is a contstant source of public ignominy. In order to protect Dimmesdale, who is a high standing member of society, Hester does not reveal his name to the public. Later, Hester gives birth to a high spirited, headstrong little girl named Pearl. As she grows and develops, Pearl takes on a multitude of roles. Pearl…

    • 1509 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Pearl played and her parent talked. During this time Hester takes off the cap that covers her hair and unclasps the scarlet letter from her breast. She tosses the scarlet letter finally feeling free of it. She tells the Reverend he must get to know Pearl and calls her over. Pearl refuses to come forward though without her mother’s scarlet letter on.…

    • 1393 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Frederick Douglass was the writer of his own autobiography, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Douglass was born into slavehood, most likely the child of his mother’s master. Of his quest, he says, “You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.” He begins unlike many slaves, with a fairly tame childhood. Considering he was still young he was put to work in the house instead of in the field.…

    • 1497 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Pearl isn’t meant to be a realistic character but a complicated symbol that portrays an act of love and passion. Hester and Dimmesdale loved each other very much and through their love they produced a pearl. A pearl is a very beautiful and rare object that can be made from something dirty and unwanted, but that can flourish into something beautiful and their Pearl is exactly that. Hester will forever love and cherish her Pearl, “But she named the infant “Pearl,” as being of great price, - purchased with all she had, - her mother’s only treasure” ( Hawthorne 82). She is a very complex individual that has many characteristics that represent multiple things.…

    • 1492 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Scarlet Letter and The Minister’s Black Veil reveals how secrets and sins play an important role in how people view each other. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne introduces Hester Prynne as a tall young woman whose striking beautiful come to live in Boston with absent of her husband. As the story progresses you begin to see her as a woman with secrets. The secrets she reveals being sinful resulting in her having to wear the scarlet letter as punishment. An affair with a respected minister Dimmesdale leads to a baby.…

    • 539 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Isolation from society can be physically and emotional as well. Society, which encompasses the people whom one shares a particular “standard of living or conduct” with, plays a prominent role in the Puritan community in which Hester lives (“Society”). The Puritan community, which influences the lives and actions of everyone in the society, has a strict sense of what is right and wrong. Any violation of the moral code can result in physical and emotion isolation, as it did for Hester. The novel…

    • 814 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Even though Hester loves Pearl because Pearl was “her mother’s only treasure,” Hester’s character began to dull. She became a ghost of her former self as a way to atone for her sins. Hester is implied to be ashamed of the red symbol of sin on her chest, but her daughter enjoys making likenesses of it, and constantly asks questions about its meaning. In chapter eighteen, Hester admits to Arthur Dimmesdale that the scarlet letter was a “passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude!”…

    • 1017 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Pearl as a symbol In the novel the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne, hester’s daughter, pearl is used very interestingly as a symbol, and is the one to point out puritan flaws, and flaws in her parents, Arthur dimmesdale and Hester Prynne as their illegitimate child. Pearl is often referred to as very un christ-like things such as an imp and a little devil due to her ability to question people on their motives in the very oppressive puritan society. Her questions shock everyone around her, and she is described as a little girl with curly hair and pointed ears. The very significance and the symbolism in her character is a balance of nature versus society, sin versus human nature and how guilt balances itself out.…

    • 1031 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    What is the difference between revenge and punishment? I think that revenge is more of a personal form of justice and is done for the satisfaction of an individual. Punishment is an authoritative form of justice given to an individual by society or by those chosen by the society, such as judges. Punishment is given to the individual with hope that he will realize that what he did was wrong.…

    • 736 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne must wear a scarlet A to mark her shame. Her lover, Arthur Dimmesdale, remains unidentified and is wracked with guilt, while her husband, Roger Chillingworth, seeks revenge. Hester Prynne is forced to suffer under the staring of the townspeople because of the scarlet letter that she wears upon her breast. Hester committed a sin, that in those times, were unforgivable and her punishment was to be known for what she did and to be humiliated.…

    • 671 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In his iconic novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne masterfully uses detailed symbolism to portray a multilayered story on sin and its consequences in the days of the Puritans. There are many examples of symbolism throughout the novel but one that Hawthorne seems to refer to the most is the symbol of Pearl, Hester’s daughter. Pearl represents Hester’s sin, the price she must pay for redemption, and the scarlet letter itself. The first time Pearl is officially introduced in the novel she is a symbol of the adultery that her mother committed. Hawthorne writes, “But she named the infant ‘Pearl,’ as being of great price, – purchased with all she had, – her mother’s only treasure” (61).…

    • 643 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The scarlet letter represents the sin of Adultery. The letter “A” was embroidered on Hester's chest for all the townspeople to see what terrible sin she had done. This was a way that Hester would live in eternal guilt. Hawthorne describes, “It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself”(Hawthorne 51). This describes the drastic change in how people saw her, they saw her as a sinner, who would have to live with this guilt for the rest of her life.…

    • 903 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    A quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne, “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” (87). Pearl is the result and symbol of, her parents, Hester and Dimmesdale's sin. In their puritan society, the scaffold was used for the punishment for sinners and coincidentally Pearl was in every scaffold scene. Pearl was the reflection of the scarlet letter, which was a continuous reminder of the sin that Hester and Dimmesdale made.…

    • 696 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Scarlet Letter, one of the most sought-out novels of American Literature, holds the tragedy of Hester Prynne, the protagonist, who is constricted to wear the scarlet letter for committing such a sinful act with, Arthur Dimmesdale the glorified minister of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The novel, which is written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, contains a multitude of hardships that force the characters to evolve and change. One of those characters being Hester Prynne, she is looked upon as the woman of sin. Hester and her child were forced to stand on the scaffold for hours, while being gawked at by the town’s people. Hester Prynne undergoes the punishment of adultery; however, Hester’s ignominy transforms her into the selfless and caring woman,…

    • 947 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays