Throughout the passage from The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses Hester’s baby, Pearl, to illuminate the theme of beauty in a dark place. Once released from prison, Hester, an adulterer, becomes a public spectacle. Through this hard time, Hester has her daughter Pearl to soothe her and to bring her strength and hope for a better future. By using vivid imagery and juxtaposition, Hawthorne depicts Pearl as Hester’s happiness, light, and beauty during a sad and lonely time. While in Prison, Hester is all alone and depressed. Her only form of comfort is her daughter, Pearl. Once free from jail, Hester and Pearl move into a dark and isolated cabin. Pearl brings light into the “darksome cottage” through her “radiance” and “splendor of [her] proper beauty”. The use of juxtaposition to contrast Pearl’s grace to the cottage’s depressing nature expresses Pearl’s presence as happy and bright, giving Hester the strength to continue living with optimism for a better future. Although Hester is depressed and living in a gloomy cabin, her daughter brings happiness and hope into her life. …show more content…
Hester’s lack of money does not hold her back from providing Pearl with everything she needs. Pearl is dressed in the “richest tissue”, made others see her as “just perfect...an infant princess”. Though only three months old, Pearl evokes the image of beauty from her mother and from strangers who see her. Even though Hester’s life is not ideal, her child brings her beauty in the darkness of her life. Hester wears clothing of poor quality, in order to provide the best for her daughter. Pearl’s happiness allows hester to be content with her life, and have hope for a better life. Her daughter’s happiness and beauty brings Hester happiness, which is greatly needed in Hester’s life. By using vivid imagery, Hawthorne conveys Pearl as a child of unwavering beauty and
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Hester Prynne gains victory in her struggle against her society 's gender norms through bettering herself, being a strong maternal figure, and finding love. Hester did not care what people thought about her she did not want to tell who Pearl’s dad was. She didn’t want to put anyone
A memorable scene is Hester’s public ridicule on the scaffold shortly after her sin is revealed. The crowd mocks her, shouting things such as, “They should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne’s forehead” (49). This scorn is a mirror of the guilt that has manifested within Hester, causing her to “Clasp the infant closely to her bosom: not so much by impulse...as that she may conceal a certain token” (50). The guilt Hester experiences is so great that she uses Pearl in an attempt to conceal her sin. The ridicule Hester endures socially reflects the self-reproach she feels within.
Hester is a strong woman, but she is no match for the political monsters who take advantage of her gender and made her live in shame for an act that was out of love, not hate. Though they tried to take her child away, Hester persevered. The men do not listen to the woman’s pleas for her one and only treasure in her life, her daughter, Pearl. Instead, they listen to Dimmesdale and his suggestion to let Hester keep her own daughter. These men have no sympathy, and only by the suggestion of the Reverend, do they let the mother keep her child. This book is full of anti-feminism, but Hester remains strong and keeps fighting against all odds.
However, the system’s uncompromising and authoritarian nature never thwarts Pearl, the novel’s sole child figure and a perpetual embodiment of her mother’s sin, from staying true to her bold, imaginative personality. Pearl, Hawthorne’s version of a child who defies all societal expectations in an alienating world, is both a testament to youth’s capability to rebel from and transcend oppression and a precursor of early Transcendentalism. Pearl’s behavior and physical appearance are both contrary to the expectations of Puritan doctrine. Born the daughter of Hester Prynne, the ignominious figure of sin in the town, Pearl is innately susceptible to society’s judgement: “The child could not be made amenable to rules. In giving her existence, a great law had been broken, and the result was a being whose elements were perhaps beautiful and brilliant, but all in disorder” ().
On the outside, Pearl is this beautiful and happy little girl, but on the inside she represents the hostilely and violent part of the scarlet letter. The brook also divides Pearl and Hester, one side receiving the sunlight and the other does not. The imagery that is created with the brook, develops a central theme, which is, where there is happiness, there is also
In the fifth and the sixth chapter, it talks about Hester’s interaction with Pearl, her daughter. I find it sad how each time she interacts with Pearl, Hester is forced to reconsider the life she has chosen for herself. It makes her rethink how she got to this point in her life. I think Hester sees Pearl as her greatest treasure and shame. Treasure because it is her daughter and shame for her crime being known towards the public.
Hester now believes that Pearl was given to her as a means of comfort and that she is a creation of God’s mercy. As Hester is released from prison she continues to be alienated and functions as a living example of a fallen woman. She continues to support herself because of her great needlework talent, and although she’s an outcast, the townspeople acknowledge her talent enough to give her work. She gets a lot of customers for many different things but it is believed to be inappropriate for chaste brides to wear what she has made.
She cannot be defined by just one label, but both. She is a mother to Pearl, who is a child born from adultery. She is a caregiver, seamstress, a lover, and a counselor, but the Puritanical society Hester lives in constantly reminds her that she is just a whore. By subscribing to this label, Hester loses her identity in a way. The effect of being an outsider due to the letter causes her to become a shell of her former self.
Daniels infers that Pearl provided new insights to “ the role of women in today 's society, a role that began to change as early as 1850” (Daniels 1). Daniels then discusses the meaning of the scarlet letter, going as far as to say that Pearl is “the scarlet letter personified” (Daniels 2). Daniels quotes other analytical pieces with varying opinions on the meaning of Pearl in regards to Hester’s scarlet letter. Then, she provides evidence about the foreshadowing of a woman’s role in society in that although Hester was controlled by the letter, Pearl was not. Daniels compares her own ideas to other sources throughout her criticism, such as Mark M. Hennelly’s literary criticism of the same novel.
Contrapositively, Pearl ‘confessed’ to the town, telling Hester “Nay, [Hester], I have told all I know”, which meant Pearl had betrayed her. Hester lied to Pearl, ‘keeping silent’ about her sin and withholding the truth for her own “sake” rather than reveal it. Pearl, being an allegory, sought truth and, staying true to her characterization, questioned Hester, causing her to ‘keep silent’ and sin further. The pair are left in a situation where Hester ‘kept silent’ and Pearl ‘confessed’, which leave them with a peculiar outcome in comparison to the
Hester Prynne now starts to live a non-social life and works from home by illustrating her broidery talent into works and clothing that she can sell. Her life suddenly turns to be lonely and almost completely miserable. Nevertheless, that all begins to change with the birth of her daughter. Hester’s gem is in the body of the tiny, little infant: “But she named the daughter ‘Pearl’, as being of great price—purchased with all she had—her mother’s only treasure!” (Hawthorne 41).
In the novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses Pearl to function as a symbol of purity and innocence, but also as a reminder to Hester of her adultery. In the beginning of the story, Hester views Pearl not only as the object of her maternal love but also as a burden and punishment for her adultery. But despite everyone feeling she was born out of sin, Pearl remains happy and playful. She doesn’t let the Puritan obsession with sin stain her life with unhappiness, guilt and fear. Hawthorne describes how all the local children shun her, but she is happy playing by herself amidst the trees and flowers, while all the Puritans torture one another with their strict concepts of sin and morality.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a novel chock full of symbolism, thematic statements, and long tedious sentences that seem to go on forever. With four main characters, readers a receives a mere four characters, with Pearl Prynne playing the most minor of them all. Throughout the novel, Pearl’s identity as a person is of the interpretation of everybody else in the novel; Pearl’s identity becomes her context in the lives of Hester and Dimmesdale, along with her context to nature and the townspeople. Hawthorne uses Pearl as an example of the theme that all people are shaped by personal experience, and he makes it blatantly obvious within the lines of the novel.
”(VII, 84) Pearl is being likened to the symbol of Hester’s scarlet letter because she is a constant reminder of the sin, as is the letter. In both ways, through the letter, and the child, Hester is forced to face the responsibility that came with her sin. Another way that Hester must take responsibility for her sin has to do with Dimmesdale. Because they committed the sin together, they are eternally linked, illustrated by this quote, “...Hester saw—or seemed to see—that there lay a responsibility upon her, in reference to the clergyman, which she owed to no other, nor to the whole world besides. The links that united her to the rest of human kind—links of flowers, or silk, or gold, or whatever the material—had all been broken.