The Symbolism Of Pearl In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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In Tthe Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne paints a descriptive picture of sin and its consequences particularly through the character Pearl. After becoming pregnant, Hester Prynne is ostracized from her Puritan community and forced to wear a scarlet letter for her sin. She gives birth to her child of infidelity, and names her Pearl “as being of great price—purchased with all she had—her mother’s only treasure!“ (Hawthorne, 1994, p. 61). The community sees Pearl as a child of sin; therefore, she must be mischievous and almost evil. Pearl lives up to the devilish child the Puritan people believed she would be, as she is used as a symbol for sin throughout the story; thus, she reveals the inmost thoughts of her mother, and the guilt of her father.
Hawthorne uses Pearl as a symbol of sin through the story.
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I believe that Hawthorne presents three important truths about sin through his portrayal of Pearl. One, sin comes with consequences. Because of Hester’s sin, she is taunted and tortured by Pearl. Two, sin is never for one’s own good. When Hester takes off the scarlet letter in the woods, she feels free, but Pearl, in seeing this joy in her mother, is unhappy and forces the weight back upon her mother. Giving into sin means becoming enslaved to it, and sin is never a kind master. Three, sin is misleading. Pearl is often described as a beautiful child, but it is revealed that these looks do not reflect her inner self. Although sin often looks like the best, easiest, or most beautiful path-- sin can never be truly good, and eventually it will shows its ugly side. All three of these truths are essential to everyday life, especially as a Christian. Knowing the disastrous effects and ugly faces of sin through Hawthorne’s portrayal, one can be confident that only through Christ is one made

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