Pearl Symbolism In Scarlet Letter

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While reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, it is obvious that he uses a lot of symbolism throughout his writing to give the readers a deeper understanding of the Puritans and their views in these times. In this book, the community forces Hester Prynne to wear a scarlet letter on her chest to show her abashment for committing adultery and having a child, Pearl. However, Pearl is actually used as a symbol throughout this book to represent the physical embodiment of Hester’s sin, the repercussions of her breaking the law, and an unworldly being in the usual strict Puritan society. In the beginning of the book, Hawthorne uses Pearl as a way to constantly remind Hester of her sin and as a link between the secret relationship of Hester…show more content…
Hawthorne states, “...Hester could not help questioning at such moments whether Pearl was a human child. She seemed rather an airy sprite…” (Hawthorne 52). Even though some people see Pearl as a child of the devil, she is actually just a little kid whose mother’s actions reflected badly on her life and made people’s views of her distorted. Pearl’s estranged behavior is believed to be a result of the way she was conceived through sin, which is just another example of how Pearl is the physical representation and constant reminder of Hester’s sin. Towards the end of the book, Pearl is finally allowed to be a real human being once Dimmesdale confesses his sin. In Chapter 23, Hawthorne writes, “The great scene of grief, in which the wild infant bore a part had developed all her sympathies; and as her tears fell upon her father’s cheek, they were the pledge that she would grow up amid human joy…” (Hawthorne 142). Pearl, in this scene, is symbolizing Hester Prynne’s sin being redeemed. Only once Dimmesdale tells everyone that he is the father, Pearl can become a real person and feel human emotions because Hester has no need anymore to be reminded of her
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