Lauren TheisLiterary AnalysisMrs. JenkinsBlock 3B11/20/1712/29/17PearlThroughout Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet letter, he references Hester’s daughter, Pearl, in different symbols, each time a different symbol. “But she named the infant “Pearl,” as being of great price,..
.her mother’s only treasure!” (Hawthorne, 1850, p.61) Pearl is symbolized as truth, evil, and Hester’s very own sin, adultery. Hawthorne adds Pearl and her symbols into the book to add foreshadowing and tension to Hester’s new life.Pearl is Hester’s constant reminder that she has sinned.
Any crime against God, a sin, was considered a crime against the Puritan community, because of the crime Hester has committed, she is outcast by the church and the surrounding community. As punishment, they sent her away to live on the edge of town and restricted her to certain pieces she could work on. The “A” that Hester wore, was just another symbol for her to remember that she committed adultery. Pearl did not help any, she only made Hester’s more noticeable, especially when she spoke about coming from a sin.
“Weather moved only by her Pearl ordinary freakishness, or because an evil spirit prompted her, she touched the scarlet letter. ‘He did not send me!’ cried she, positively. ‘I have no Heavenly Father!” (Hawthorne, 1850, p.185) Pearl was raised with the knowledge that God is not her Heavenly Father. This is important to the story as well as to Pearl’s symbolism. This shows that Hester has lost faith in the church because they do not like her daughter. Pearl, is another symbol of sin and adultery, that is not needed in the Puritan society.
Throughout the book, Pearl’s symbolism evolves to represent the truth. She speaks the truth about Dimmesdale’s relationship with Hester. When the Minister, Hester, and Pearl are in the forest planning their escape, Pearl stops by the brook and asks, ‘Why doth the minister sit yonder?’ asked Pearl… ‘Doth he love us?’ said Pearl, looking up with acute intelligence, into her mother’s face. ‘Will he go back with us, hand in hand, we three together into the town?'” (Hawthorne, 1850, p.
407) Dimmesdale, the minister, loves them, but cannot announce his love publicly, it is too great of a sin for him to confess to. Believing that Pearl is the punishment God has given Hester for her sinful act, is a representation of how evil she is. “An imp of evil, emblem, and product of sin”. (Hawthorne, 1850, p.67) Pearl is the reason for her parents to experience guilt. She does not follow the Puritan law, the Bible. Pearl is always cheerful, instead of sad, and when she is playing with nature she is considered a “wild child” that cannot be Puritan.
Pearl is always bothering her mother, asking her questions, and causing scenes. This is another way that the author, Hawthorne, shows how Pearl is punishment for Hester. He wants us as readers to see that Pearl is constantly mocking her mother, possibly a witch baby, sent to never let Hester forget the sin that she has done.Pearl is symbolized more than just a sin.
Pearl is evil. Born through sin as a child that represents the truth. Throughout Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet letter, he references Hester’s daughter, Pearl, in different symbols, each time a different symbol. Hawthorn did a very good job of provoking the reader and by keeping us intrigued with every symbol possible for a child in the Puritan era.