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The Symbolism Of Pearl In The Scarlet Letter

Decent Essays
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…show more content…
For example, the first thing she instinctively clutches to is the A fastened on Hester’s chest: “But that first object of which Pearl seemed to become aware was the scarlet letter on Hester's bosom” (Hawthorne). Here, Pearl’s aberration illustrates her deviation from normality. While Hester believes Pearl’s outlandish nature is God’s punishment for her sin, Hester also recognizes that Pearl is a gift from God, representing possible redemption. Pearl’s shift from endearing to demon-like behavior reinforces the idea that Pearl is Hester’s savior, yet also her tormentor. Pearl’s attachment to the A was further exemplified when she “imitated, as best she could, on her own bosom the decoration with which she was so familiar on her mother's” (Hawthorne). Despite society’s belief that Hester can only redeem herself through public shame, wearing the A, Pearl believes that the only escape from sin is in nature, as shown through her creation of a green A. Additionally, Pearl intentionally made the A to provoke her mother, wondering “if mother will ask me what it means,” characterizing Pearl as Hester’s tormentor (Hawthorne). Furthermore, while Pearl is physically attached to the A, she is also mentally, as shown through her constant questioning of Hester. “what does this scarlet letter mean?—and why dost thou wear it on thy bosom?—and why does the minister keep his hand over his heart?” (Hawthorne). Pearl is
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