After her horrible ordeal, and her release from prison, Hester and Pearl reside for the next few years in a hut by the sea. Hester tries to keep her distance from the Puritans. She does not want them to influence Pearl. Hester wants to raise Pearl, and find peace within herself. Pearl, however,
Hester continues to face conflict, this time with herself. When Hester faces the reality of the unpleasant situation she is faced with, her self conflict begins. Hester’s feelings are expressed when it is stated, “She clutched the child so fiercely to her breast that it sent forth a cry; she turned her eyes downward at the scarlet letter, and even touched it with her finger, to assure herself the infant and the shame were real” (52). Conflict within Hester’s life continues in mothering her curious child. Pearl’s curiosity is revealed when she asks, ‘ “. . . Mother dear, what does this scarlet letter mean? –and why dost thou wear it on thy bosom?” ’ (161). Hester feels the responsibility of protecting Pearl from knowing her mother’s sinful actions. The constant questioning puts Hester in a contradictory position. Mothering Pearl causes conflict a second time when Pearl is considered an outcast from other
She touches the scarlet letter, but little does she know that she is the reason for the punishment. They are social outcasts, so they don’t leave their house much. Pearl plays alone and has best friends that are imaginary. She distrusts her own imaginary friends for the same reason that she distrusts all the Puritans in the colony. People treat Hester and Pearl differently than everyone else is treated. She only loves Hester, because Hester spends time with her and is a good mother. She plays with her and teaches her Bible stories. 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
This ridicule has a trickle down effect on Hester as she too is banished from her own community for committing adultery. The comparison between Hester and Hawthorne defines the external struggle for the reader to fully understand the effect of opinions from society on them Although reluctant to allow Hester to leave prison, the members of the town suggest that her punishment be to wear a scarlet red letter A on her bosom, thereby allowing all to know of her crime. The scarlet letter “ was red-hot with infernal fire, ” (Hawthorne 81) and defined the state she was currently in, that being eternal hell. Though she was forced to marry an older man at a young age, her rebellion to have an affair is not seen as an internal struggle that she overcame; rather, it is merely seen as a woman who sinned, a woman who shall therefore endure the punishment for the sin, rather than a woman who was never given a say in what she wanted with her life. Time and again, Hester Prynne is seen defying society by allowing herself to stand out from societal norm just as the roses “with its delicate gems, which might be imagined to offer their fragrance and fragile beauty to the prisoner“ (Hawthorne) did. Instead, she returns to the community and is observed aiding those in need, all with seven year old Pearl by her side.
Hester names her daughter Pearl because of her beauty and intelligence, however also because she is Hester’s treasure. It mays seem contradictory, however, the one thing that causes her immense pain is also her greatest gift. Pearl has a innocent, independent, and non judgmental personality yet loyalty bold with wise outlooks on the world (76). The other children stare and tease Pearl for her unique circumstances that have taught her different struggles. For example, Pearl makes do with her confinement by making scrapes her playthings to fight the loneliness; a pine tree branch or weeds from the garden was used. One day, as an infant, Pearl grasps at her Mother’s “A” and smiles it it, causing Hester distress, however, this only reflect
Hester Prynne, the main character of the book "The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, commits adultery, is considered a hussy, and has a child as the result of her sin. She cheats on her husband while he is absent from town and receives a harsh punishment for her behavior already. Hester is forced to wear a scarlet letter “A” on her bosom for the rest of her life. It is now on debate on whether or not Pearl should be taken away from her mother’s guidance. This is due to the fact that she is a sinner and might not be a qualified mother for her child.It is true, that no matter what you did in the past, a child is a blessing and parents change due to the love they have for their children. Therefore, Hester
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.
The Scarlet letter sheds much light on the theme of isolation strait from the top when Hester Prynne gives birth to her daughter, Pearl, in prison. Pearl is the result of Pre-Marital Sex, and while the father is unknown at this point, it later is revealed that Arthur Dimmesdale is Pearl’s father. Forced to wear a large “A” on her chest for the rest of her days as a reminder of her sin of fornication in the Puritan Society, Hester Prynne becomes outcast by her peers. “ Measured by the Prisoner’s experience, however, it might be reckoned a journey of some length; for, haughty as her demeanor was, she perchance underwent an agony from every footstep of those that thronged to see her, as if her heart had been flung in the street for them all to spurn and trample upon.” Even though Hester is surrounded by people, she is all alone. She is being paraded through the streets, as an example for others to not follow her ways. Hester’s isolation encourages her to stand up and not be ashamed of her actions, but to take pride in them.
When Hester fixed the onerous scarlet letter back onto her bosom, “the warmth and richness of her womanhood departed, like fading sunshine,” leaving behind only a “gray shadow” in its place (145). As a result, the beauty Hester once held with such alacrity was snatched away by the venomous stigma society had placed on her. Moreover, society, by humiliating Hester with the scarlet letter, destroyed her very sense of self, thus causing her to grow into a character filled with woe; the infectious remorse placed by society consumed Hester - eating away at her beauty and humanity. Over time, Hester’s face began to incorporate the “frozen calmness of a dead woman’s features,” and Hester seemed “actually dead” (155). Hester, similar to a dead body, was unable to return to the living; she lost everything that once made her a beautiful lady. The woman whom society once viewed with esteem no longer existed, and in her place was a ghoulish, empty shell of a human who could never return to its original form. Hester is comparable to the rose bush with its “delicate gems,” and “fragile beauty,” caged behind the prison door “studded with iron spikes” (33). Hester’s allure is restrained by the pernicious barbs of society’s harsh punishments, so that she herself is an object not of admiration, but of scorn. Shackled by the chains of an immoral
From the beginning, we see that Hester Prynne is a young and beautiful woman who has brought a child into the world with an unknown father. She is punished by Puritan society by wearing the scarlet letter A on the bosom of her dress and standing on the scaffold for three hours. The scaffold is a painful task to bear; the townspeople gathered around to gossip and stare at Hester and her newborn child, whom she suitably named Pearl, named because of her extreme value to her mother. Her subjection to the crowd of
The Scarlet Letter is an example of a story that has two conflicting ideas that coincide together. Redemption and regret do not always work together, but in the life of Pearl, they are two characteristics that cannot work without the other. It is important to realize that without the life of Pearl, Hester’s own life would not have been impacted in the way that it was, or even impacted at all. What others may see as a problem, can really be a blessing in
In conclusion, the evolution of Hester, the villagers, Pearl, and the author of the scarlet letter that Hester wears is generally seen as acceptance of her and her sin. The author develops Hester into a woman who gradually becomes comfortable with the idea of herself and her sin. Although Pearl never clearly understands it, she recognizes that her mother will forever be a sinner, but is still her mother. The villagers at first heckle Hester of her scarlet letter, but begin to see her true colors. In short, The
Hester Prynne, Pearl, the townspeople, and Nathaniel Hawthorne each have different views of the “Scarlet Letter” that change throughout the story. Hester begins to feel proud of her letter but then soon humbles herself when she wears it and ends up feeling the guilt of her sin towards the conclusion of the story. The letter for Hester begins to shape her life along with pearl for it is an everyday thing for her. Pearl, as a young child, is aware of her mother’s letter but doesn’t fully understand its meaning. Pearl later on begins to only see and recognize her mother with the letter on. The townspeople, in the beginning of the story, hate Hester and her letter believing her punishment should have been more harsh, but later on they find a new meaning for it. Nathaniel Hawthorne varies with his opinions and view of the letter just as each character does. Each view represents a different side to the story.
To conclude, the strong, positive attitude Hester portrays, differs heavily from the town’s view of Hester,and in the end, her perseverance displays how she overcame the harsh ridiculement of the Boston colony. The overwhelming amount of hate Hester initially faced is all accross the novel. Whenever Hester had an interaction with a person, she was thereafter treated with some hostility. However, she never let it get to her, she always did what was right and kept pushing forward, to eventually earn the love of the people. Strangely, with the birth of Pearl, Hester is also reborn into a new life. With Hester being reborn, she is greeted with a scarlet letter, the connection between them, changes throughout the novel, ultimately ending up as
In The Scarlet Letter, Hester has finally been released from prison. After she was released, she was able to leave Boston, but she decided against it. Because of her wrongdoings, the community has shunned her. Even though she is shunned, she still has the means to provide for herself and her daughter, Pearl, by her magnificent sewing skills. Pearl helps her get through all that she is going through. Because Pearl is the result of Hester's sin, everyone treats her differently.