In chapter six’s passage, Hawthorne emphasis Pearl’s beauty and her grandiose character, even though she was created out of sin and guilt. Hawthorne juxtaposes the town’s perspective of Pearl, as being a child of wrongdoing, to Hester’s view of her being an angelic figure, which a glowing spirit. The text presents the idea that although the town forced Hester to wear the scarlet letter to repent for her sin; however, its effect entirely contradicted its purpose. Not only did the scarlet make Hester realize the beautiful, self-fulfilling outcome of her actions, but it also altered her perception of the difference between wrong and right to one that negated society’s imposed beliefs.
In a surface examination of the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne, it is quickly evident that no good things come from the wilderness. Therein, the wilderness is often associated with the savages and the devil. In his work The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne finds herself exiled by society for having an adulterous affair with the town reverend which brought forth the child known as Pearl. Pearl is quickly established as the child of the wilderness: wild, capricious, and thought by the town to be a demon-child. She represents several entities in the novel just by her being, but when her morality is delved into, much more of the nature of the story can be revealed. Pearl’s role is often overlooked as a formative force in the novel. Some scholars have gone as far as to denounce her as unnecessary to the story’s makeup. Upon close examination, it can be determined that Pearl is indeed a necessary element. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Pearl presents themes of morality, both personal and cultural, as well as the divide between society and nature, through her interactions with Hester, Reverend Dimmesdale, and the scarlet letter itself.
However, Hester does not see Pearl as a burden, but yet a blessing. She cares for Pearl with all the love in her heart. “Her own dress was of the coarsest materials and the most somber hue; with only that one ornament,—the scarlet letter,—which it was her doom to wear. The child's attire, on the other hand, was distinguished by a fanciful, or, we may rather say, a fantastic ingenuity, which served, indeed, to heighten the airy charm that early began to develop itself in the little girl.”(Hawthorne 57). Hester’s wardrobe is downgraded so that Pearls can prosper, human nature enables Hester to become selfless for Pearl. Hester was seen as the antagonist during the opening chapters of the book, but as more light is shown on the character, it is seen that Hawthorne’s view of the natural good emulates through Hester.
In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne characterizes Pearl with contrasting personalities and roles she plays in Hester’s life. Pearl’s conflicting personality components, innocence and defiance, both derive from her isolation from society, which transpired because of her mother’s sin. Pearl represents the conflict between everything good and dark, which reflects in the role she plays in Hester’s life, as the physical embodiment of the A. While Pearl serves as a savior to Hester, representing possible redemption, she is also Hester’s tormentor, a constant reminder of her sin, and the consequences of disobeying her Puritan nature and religion. Hawthorne’s intent is established in the novel through Pearl’s attachment to the A, the mirror
Also, Hawthorne juxtaposes motifs to reveal Hester’s point-of-view and understanding. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester forcefully wears the embroidered letter “A” with golden thread representing sin and adultery. Then, her daughter asks, “What does the letter mean, mother?” Her mother responds, “for the scarlet letter, I wear it for the sake of its gold-thread” (163). In this quote, Hester is hiding the real logic of why she is wearing the scarlet letter, because she understands Pearl is still a child, she would not be able to understand the hypocrisy of the society. Furthermore, the community forced her to wear it as a source of a punishment. However, this juxtaposition of wearing the item for the sake of its beauty, is a different idea contrasting the genuine reason of why she is wearing the scarlet letter. Additionally, another symbolism that Hawthorne juxtaposes is the meaning of the allegorical object in the novel. This object is the scarlet letter, which its meaning changed from the beginning to the end of the book. At first, the author represents the idea of the wickedness of the letter it has on Hester, “[that] transfigured [Hester] . . . [and it] illuminated upon her bosom” (51). Not only, the scarlet letter has a peculiar “effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing her in a sphere by herself” (51). Thus, the author interprets the meaning of the scarlet letter
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, is a compassionate yet riveting piece of English literature that supports the movement for equality of suppressed women during a most tumultuous time during the 1800’s. Hawthorne’s use of emotional diction and imagery throughout his novel employs a deplorable tone upon the story. It serves as a stark representation of an imaginative yet realistic example of the indifference of men and women during these changing times. Deeply held Puritanical beliefs led countless of people to believe that individuals, especially women, who committed sins of any type would never reach heaven upon their passing. Men, on the other hand, were judged less severely if accused of a crime. Hester Prynne, the
In The Scarlet Letter, Pearl is often regarded as a symbol to that of the suffering of Hester Prynne and the shamed Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale but Pearls significance is more than just symbolizing the sin committed by her parents. She in many ways represents the innocence that the puritan belief is regressing itself to have. Hawthorne constructs Pearl as an evolving symbol for Hester and Dimmsdale and her progression as a character is shown through that of the actions set forth by these characters. Since the inception of the act of adultery by Hester and Dimmesdale, Pearl is developed by sin but she is not conformed to sin and as a result symbolizing a release of sin. She is essentially the road from childhood to adulthood, innocence to innocence lost to finally understanding and accepting the card that we are all delved with and that’s life after sin.
Pearl, Hester’s child out of wedlock, then emphasizes on the idea of darkness following Hester when she declares to Hester, “the sunshine does not love you. It turns away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom” (Hawthorne 167). The letter on Hester’s bosom not only repel the townspeople, it drives off the sunshine and light that used to follow her wherever she went. She is considered as a social outcast among her peers and even the children of the community. However, still in the forest, when Hester rips the Scarlet Letter from her chest and throws it into the nearby brook, “all at once, as with a sudden smile of heaven, forth burst the sunshine, pouring a very flood into the obscure forest, gladdening each green leaf, transmuting the yellow fallen ones to gold, and gleaming adown the gray trunks of the solemn trees” (Hawthorne 186). Once the letter is no longer attached to Hester, she is set free from her guilt and grief that she has endured for so many years. She is no longer controlled by the “iron-framework” (Hawthorne 111) of the puritan society and is able to be with Dimmesdale, her true lover, without the guilt that was brought upon her by the Scarlet Letter.
Children accept who they are with no influence from society or feelings of guilt. As Hawthorne describes Pearl’s carefree attitude, he writes, “Her final employment was to gather sea-weed… and thus assume the aspect of a little mermaid… Pearl took some eel-grass, and imitated, as best she could, on her own bosom, the decoration with which she was so familiar on her mother’s… the letter A” (Nathaniel Hawthorne 115). As little Pearl plays, the scarlet letter does not symbolize shame for her. Pearl accepts the scarlet letter as nothing out of the ordinary, and even envies its beauty. Through Pearl’s actions, Hawthorne reveals how children view shame and societal pressure. Although the scarlet letter embodies the entirety of Hester’s sin and shame, Pearl does not run from it or feel ashamed because of it. Hawthorne uses Pearl as an example of how adults should view symbols of sin in their society instead of running from the sin, they should forgive readily and accept the reality of their present situation. Furthermore, in his literary criticism, The Obliquity of Signs, Millicent Bell reveals how out of Hester’s societally constructed sin and shame came this perfect example of Pearl. He writes, “Hester’s sin is not only unutterable but involves a name, that of her partner, which she refuses to utter. Her sexual history is so private that it cannot be imagined when we gaze at her in the chaste aftermath of Hawthorne’s novel. And yet that privacy has its public manifestation, the child Pearl” (Millicent Bell 23). Bell reveals how even out of Hester’s most taboo and secret sin came Pearl, whose manifestation publicly
So, the only thing that I can guess on that is because Warrant Officer Helm told Burmaster that, and like I said, later on he told me and frankly I don’t know why, it just didn’t matter to me, that he did that IG complain back in 2009. The only thing that I can guess is that Burmaster, in his mind, connected the two together and said, oh that must be the reason why they sent you out here, because I know originally you were going to be assigned to the talk. In fact, Burmaster was in the room with me and Helm when I told Warrant Officer Helm, because Warrant Office Helm in fact, said that to me.
To depict Hester Prynne’s inner turmoil, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses many different types of rhetorical devices, such as pathos, simile, and metaphor. He also uses an abundance amount of syntax, irony and tone. Hawthorne uses metaphors and similes often in chapter five, to exaggerate Hester’s chaos inside. The arrangement of words and phrases Hawthorne uses makes the reader think and try to understand Hester’s tension.
In the beginning of the novel, the scarlet letter is seen as a symbol of Hester great sin of adultery and the child she has thence bared. Hester has always seen the scarlet letter as a shameful symbol of her sins she has made. Yet Pearl, Hester’s daughter, matures only knowing her mother with the scarlet letter and loving her for it. Pearl grows to love the A so much that she her self tries to duplicate it, “As the last touch to her mermaid’s garb, Pearl took some eelgrass, and imitated, as best she could, on her own bosom, the decoration with which she was so familiar on her mother’s A letter- the letter A- but freshly green, instead of scarlet” (Hawthorne 155). The scarlet letter has become a significant symbol in Pearl’s life and she cannot bare the thought of not having it. This deep attachment to the A leads Pearl to desiring one for herself. In one instance she had a fit about it by, “Stamping
In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses Pearl's character not to be a daughter but to be a symbol that manifests Hester's guilt from her sin of adultery. When Pearl is first introduced, she is only a few months old, but already, she seems to have an understanding of her mother’s sin. As Hester holds Pearl to her chest, where the letter is, Pearl winks at the sun as if letting it know that she understands that her God-given duty is to never let her mother forget her sin. It is almost like she is saying ‘do not worry I’ll take care of it’. After all, the most obvious symbol of Hester’s sin, is the offspring it created.
Part of her conflicts come from the punishment of having the scarlet letter, a constant reminder of her sins. Permanently blazoned on her bosom, it forces Hester into a mental state of sustained repentance that causes her to associate with evil. Even naive Pearl notices this connection as she comments that the sunlight does not love Hester, as it “runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on [her] bosom” (180). This absence of light reinforces the notion that her society does not approve of the truth behind Hester’s act of adultery. Her physical appearances depict this judgement as “her beauty... departed, like fading sunshine; and a gray shadow seemed to fall across her” (160).
“Throughout the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the effects of sin on the mind, body, and soul of Hester”(Smith). As Hester commits these sins she thinks that what she did was not a very big deal, but when society finds out she gets put in prison and gets in very big trouble. Hester was fighting her own identity by her trying to keep the Puritan society from finding out about that sins that she had committed but once her religion find out they view her in a whole different way. The Puritan religion viewed her as a very sinful person, and they also viewed her as a promiscuous person. In the novel The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the letter “A” changes from adultery, to ability, to angel, and to the living persona of Pearl.
“It is good for this poor, sinful woman that she hath an infant immortality…confined to her care… to remind her… of her fall… but yet to teach her, as it were by the Creator’s sacred pledge, that, if she bring the child to heaven, the child will also bring its parent hither!” (Hawthorne 105). The plot of The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, revolves around a woman named Hester, who, in 17th Century Puritan America, sins, and, as a result, is left with a child named Pearl, which the previous quote talks about. Pearl is viewed as both good and bad by the reader and the author. In this way, Pearl represents both light and dark attributes, as do many of the characters of this novel, and she helps to bring out those attributes in each individual. Light and dark imagery, alluding to the larger conflict between good and bad, is present throughout the novel in the characters of Hester Prynne, Roger Chillingworth, and Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale.