Symbolism Behind The Character Pearl In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

1088 Words 4 Pages
Scarlet Letter: The Symbolism Behind the Character Pearl.
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter in the 1850s. The plot of the story takes place in the seventeenth-century Puritan Massachusetts; the novel explains the trials and tribulations of Hester Prynne, who gives birth to her daughter Pearl after an affair with Reverend Dimmesdale. Hester Prynne was shamed and ridiculed and forced to wear an A on her breast to remind her and everyone else of her dirty deed. The A that Hester Prynne had to wear on her breast is one of the many symbolisms demonstrated in this novel. One symbol that was used in this novel that may not be so prominent is the character Pearl.
Pearl is described as beautiful creation similar to how her mother is described.
…show more content…
Here she really represents the scarlet letter because she is what makes Dimmesdale and Hester unified. Hester has a scarlet letter, Dimmesdale has a scarlet letter, and Pearl is the Scarlet letter for them because she is their product. There is a natural connection between Dimmesdale and Pearl because although Pearl is not certain that Dimmesdale is her father, she has this strong attraction towards him. Which some may say is intuition. In a piece of criticism on the scarlet letter, Anne McNamara explains the cause effect relationship between Dimmesdale and Pearl. She explains in detail the ways Pearl acts towards Dimmesdale and her refusal to accept Dimmesdale’s …show more content…
Her relationship with nature coincides with the relationship she is creating with the Puritan community, and just as the community cannot control nature, wild and free, it will not be able to control Pearl. (Daniels 1)

Pearl may remind the Puritan community of their own sins and they become so angry with her because their failure to pacify Pearl allows them to remember their unrevealed sins and secrets and not be able to pacify or leave them in the dark. Pearl in this case embodies a sense of exposure. The exposure of Hester and Dimmesdale’s affair and what may also be the exposure of the Puritan community’s sinful ways. While there are many symbols written into The Scarlet Letter, Pearl has to be the leading symbol. She serves the purpose of a symbol more than she does a character in the novel. Pearl is born from and into sin but seems to maintain a free spirit. She manages to be a symbol for adultery but still exemplifies the innocence of any child born into a non-adulterous

Related Documents