The Importance Of Scaffold Scenes In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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All people hold something sacred in their hearts. If they were to lose this special something, whether a person, animal, or object, they would be completely devastated. Some people can even feel as though they have lost their sense of purpose. These things provide strength, but almost always, their owners tend to grow out of them. Pearl becomes the special something to her parents, Hester Prynne and Reverend Dimmesdale, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Born out of wedlock, Pearl is the reason that her Puritan community marks her mother with the scarlet letter A. However, she also steers others toward the truth throughout the novel, becoming an impetus for Dimmesdale’s regeneration. The three landmark scaffold scenes are what delineate Pearl 's divine transformation from object to redemptive spirit to human.
As Hester displays the results of adultery alone on the scaffold, the crowd immediately likens Pearl to her mother’s scarlet letter. In this first major scene, Hawthorne forces the reader to see the baby as an object. Standing before all, Hester conceals her scarlet letter with her child, but once she realizes that they are both symbols of her shame, she uncovers her letter. Right away, Pearl and her name represent her great price to her mother. Yet the child is also her most precious possession, and Hester knows that she was created naturally like any other child. She stands before all as her hidden lover Dimmesdale speaks,
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Reverend Dimmesdale, the concealed father, hides his sin from the public, refusing to publicly acknowledge his actions. However, in several occasions including the scaffold scene, he secretly recognizes Pearl and his relationship to her. In each of these appeals, Hawthorne develops Pearl as a “character of flame” (Hawthorne 181). Wellborn asserts that Hawthorne is alluding to Pearl’s religious

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