Pearl's True Identity In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1526 Words 7 Pages
Contrary to popular belief, punishments can be beneficial. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter displays one example of this situation. The Scarlet Letter is about Hester Prynne, who committed adultery, and now must wear a scarlet letter. Guilt is consuming Arthur Dimmesdale, who also committed adultery, and remains unidentified until the end. The child that was borne from Hester, named Pearl, is an exact representation of the scarlet letter. The symbol of the “A” represents Pearl’s sinful birth and allows Pearl to inhabit her authentic self in a strict Puritan society. Moreover, Dimmesdale should bear the “A” but does not, which results in him feeling isolated and non-authentic because his sins proceed unconfessed. This exposes that the …show more content…
If he had confessed his sins, Dimmesdale would have been able to lead a life under his true identity, rather than the one he hides under to fit into the standards of a Puritan society. Hawthorne wrote that “[The townspeople] deemed the young clergyman a miracle of holiness. They fancied him the mouthpiece of Heaven's messages of wisdom, and rebuke, and love. In their eyes, the very ground on which he trod was sanctified,” (129). This passage represents the standards of a puritan priest, inferring that the priests constitute an extension of God. The townspeople believe that Dimmesdale embodies the mouth of Heaven’s messages in order for God to tell the people messages of wisdom, rebuke, and love. These represent high standards to uphold because according to the townspeople, Dimmesdale is their connection to God. Directions about the topics of wisdom, rebuke, and love are not pieces of information that the townspeople can get from anywhere else, only from Dimmesdale. This makes Dimmesdale’s role even more crucial. He recognizes the power and the expectations that he holds and carries it with care and honor. Because of the pressure that materializes with the views of being held on a godlike pedestal, Dimmesdale experiences the burden of needing to inhabit the …show more content…
On page 92 of The Scarlet Letter, a group of children taunts Hester and Pearl. Pearl frowns and starts yelling at them, in a way that probably caused their hearts to tremble, and makes them escape away. Hawthorne wrote, “The victory accomplished, Pearl returned quietly to her mother, and looked up smiling into her face. Without further adventure, they reached the dwelling…” (92). This passage depicts to the reader that after Pearl did such a disturbing act of yelling at other little children, Hester did not even acknowledge or do anything about it. Instead, Pearl calms down, smiles at her mother, and they continue on their journey without Hester saying a word. In other situations, if a mother were to see their child behave this erratically and yell at other children, they would probably either punish or scold their child. Hester is different because she already expects some type of evil or spontaneous behavior from Pearl. Hawthorn shows Hester’s thoughts on this topic by writing, “Day by day, [Hester] looked fearfully into the child’s expanding nature; ever dreading to detect some dark and wild peculiarity” (80-81). Hester carries zero faith that the result of her sin could turn into a good thing. Because of this belief, she prepares herself for the worst in Pearl. She does this by every day looking at Pearl, seeing if she can detect

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