The Scarlet Letter - Character Analysis - Pearl Essay

772 Words Apr 8th, 2002 4 Pages
Hester's daughter, Pearl, functions primarily as a symbol. She is quite young during most of the events of this novel—when Dimmesdale dies she is only seven years old—and her real importance lies in her ability to provoke the adult characters in the book. She asks them pointed questions and draws their attention, and the reader's, to the denied or overlooked truths of the adult world. In general, children in The Scarlet Letter are portrayed as more perceptive and more honest than adults, and Pearl is the most perceptive of them all.
At the first of Pearl's role in the story, it appears as though someone so grounded in her beliefs, spiritual and mental, would never be dynamic in character. However, that is not the case. This character
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Pearl knows the whole catechism at the age of three, but refuses to say it to anyone. She is smarter than everyone thinks she is. Chillingworth speaks to Pearl about the scarlet letter. He asked her if she knew the reason why her mother must wear the scarlet letter all the time. She replies, "Yes, that is the same reason why the preacher holds his hand over his heart." Pearl asks her mom all the time the reason why she wears the scarlet letter and why the preacher holds his hand over his heart. She knows that they both do, but she doesn't know why. Hester tells her that she wears it because of the pretty gold thread, but she doesn't know the minister's reason. Later in the story, Dimmesdale, Hester, and Pearl meet in the forest, and Hester rips the scarlet letter off. Pearl gets mad then, because she knows that her mother is supposed to wear it. Dimmesdale kisses Pearl, but she washes the kiss off with water from the brook. A Holiday comes, and Dimmesdale avoids Hester and Pearl. Pearl doesn't understand why Dimmesdale kisses her in the forest, but doesn't want to have anything to do with her and her mom in public. Not many days after that, Dimmesdale dies shortly after preaching a sermon, and Pearl kisses him and accepts him as her father. Dimmesdale, her real father, is the first person other than her mother that she learns to love. Shortly after, Chillingworth gives Pearl all the land that he had, and she became very rich – an heiress

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