Pearl In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter is a novel highlighting the sin of a young woman named Hester and the toll it takes on her and those around her. This sin – adultery – was born from passion, and from that passion was born a child named Pearl. Pearl is a living, physical entity of the sin. Hawthorne reveals the character Pearl’s nature in the Scarlet Letter through the text by shaping her personal qualities, her symbolic value, and her function in the plot.
Immediately, Pearl becomes locked into a role. Her role is to play the flesh of the scarlet letter, which is the mark that her mother must wear on her bosom to announce herself as an adulteress. Through this perspective, Hawthorne writes all of Pearl’s qualities ambiguously. Meaning, on one note, she
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As mentioned earlier, Pearl is a physical embodiment of the scarlet letter her mother wears, not only literally, but figuratively. Hawthorne often makes connections between a person’s outer to inner form. In Pearl’s case, her mother dresses her to resemble the letter – in red dresses embellished with gold. But on the inside, her soul exemplifies the adultery the letter stands for. She is passion, guilt, and shame all in one. Pearl is connected to the scarlet letter. For instance, when Pearl was a baby, the first thing she noticed about her mother was the scarlet letter “A” on her bosom. Sometimes when Pearl would play, she would throw leaves and flowers up at her mother’s chest where the letter lies. In the forest much later, Hester and Dimmesdale decide they are all going to move away to England. Hence, Hester removes the letter to symbolize their freedom from the bounds of the Puritan community. However, Pearl becomes difficult. She does not recognize her mother now and throws a tantrum until she puts in back on. Through this, Hawthorne illustrates Pearl’s connection with the letter. Ultimately, the symbolic value Pearl manifests is the sin of her mother and father, torturing them with it

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