Pearl In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Nature’s Pearl The symbol of nature permeates Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and no character embodies this symbol more than Pearl Prynne. Throughout the story, nature cultivates Pearl’s personality as an observant and insightful child, contrary to the Puritan community who deem her a demonic child. Hawthorne utilizes the symbol of nature as a means to personify the wild, impassioned creation of Pearl, as a tool to link Pearl to her mother, and as a representation of Pearl’s happiness outside the bounds of Puritanism. In the novel The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne employs the symbol of nature in multiple ways to create the dynamic and spirited character Pearl. First, Nathaniel Hawthorne employs the symbol of nature to personify the…show more content…
Pearl’s relationship with her mother differs from a typical mother and daughter relationship. For example, as a young child, Pearl “amused herself with gathering handfuls of wild-flowers, and flinging them, one by one, at her mother’s bosom; dancing up and down like a little elf whenever she hit the scarlet letter” (55). Hawthorne describes Pearl throwing “handfuls of wild-flowers” to enhance the connection Pearl maintains with nature, and Pearl’s attempt to create a similar connection with her mother. In fact, Pearl identifies her mother by her scarlet letter unlike most children who identify with their mother’s face; therefore she throws the flowers at the scarlet letter instead of at her mother’s face. An additional linkage exists in that Pearl possesses similar artistic abilities to her mother, however Pearl’s artistry always involves nature. Hawthorne describes how nature calls to Pearl, “and to please them, Pearl gathered the violets, and anemones, and columbines, and some twigs of freshest green…With these she decorated her hair and her young waist” (115). Hence, similar to her mother’s flair for stitching, Pearl possesses an uncanny flair for adorning herself with innumerable items found in nature. Hester’s stunning “A” symbolizes her ostracism; likewise Pearl’s adornment of nature symbolizes her ostracism from society as well. Hawthorne develops a relationship between Pearl…show more content…
Hawthorne describes Pearl’s eschewing human friends or playmates, instead choosing nature as her playmate. While in the forest chasing the sunlight, Hawthorne describes how, “The light lingered about the lonely child, as if glad of such a playmate” (103). For Hawthorne, the sun symbolizes goodness, happiness and peace; similar to the Pearl’s inner spirit. Pearl intuitively discerns that peace and happiness originate form nature, not from strict, oppressive laws found in Puritan society. As another example of Pearl’s inner peace, Hawthorne describes Pearl pleading with a nearby sad, bubbling brook, by imploring, “ Oh foolish and tiresome little brook! Why are thou so sad? Pluck up your spirit, and do not be all the time sighing and murmuring” (104). For Pearl, melancholy feelings do not belong in nature. Pearl intuitively recognizes that nature equates to inner peace and happiness; she yearns to share this with others including her mother. Thus, Hawthorne further develops the complex character, Pearl, by demonstrating her ability to perceive the peace and happiness found in
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