How Does Hawthorne Present Pearl's Death In The Scarlet Letter

409 Words2 Pages

In chapter X we see Hester and Pearl walking into the graveyard, interrupting Chillingworth and Dimmesdale’s conversation. Pearl goes ahead and “skip[s] irreverently from one grave to another; until coming to the broad, flat, armorial tombstone of a departed worthy--perhaps of Isaac Johnson himself--she began to dance upon it. In reply to her mother's command and entreaty that she would behave more decorously, little Pearl paused to gather the prickly burrs from a tall burdock which grew beside the tomb. Taking a handful of these, she arranged them along the lines of the scarlet letter that decorated the maternal bosom, to which the burrs, as their nature was, tenaciously adhered. Hester did not pluck them off” (Hawthorne). First we see Pearl walking upon the tombstone of Isaac Johnson who was a settler that settled on Boston, but had died shortly before the Puritans arrived there. …show more content…

Thus, she is not as disciplined as Hester says she is. We also see Pearl picking out prickly burrs from around the tombstones and placing them around Hester’s scarlet letter. This symbolizes the fact that Hester is placed with all this guilt throughout her life, and is weighted down by society, hence the prickly pears, but the fact that she allows them to rest upon her bosom, proves that she is acceptant of her humiliation and pain, and is willingly open towards receiving the society's punishment. The burrs seem to have a stronger connection with Dimmesdale’s sins. Dimmesdale states that he gains “relief [when he has] witnessed in those sinful brethren!...How can it be otherwise? Why should a wretched man...prefer to keep the [sin] buried in his own heart, rather than fling it forth at one, and let the universe take care of it!”

Open Document