Scarlet Letter Pearl Symbolism

1051 Words5 Pages
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a novel that focuses on sin in the Puritan society. Hawthorne revolves the theme around the four main characters Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger Chillingworth., and Pearl. Hester Prynne is forced to wear the scarlet letter ‘A’ after committing adultery against her husband Roger Chillingworth, with the minister Arthur Dimmesdale. As a result an odd child is born. Dimmesdale never admits that he is a father of the child, and is forced to suffer alone in guilt, while Roger Chillingworth seeks revenge. Hawthorne is known for his incorporation of symbolism into his writing. One of the most complex and misunderstood symbols is Pearl. She is a unique character. Often known as the product of her…show more content…
The readers learn that it is the first object of which Pearl seemed aware. “But that first object of which Pearl seemed to become aware was-shall we say it? -the scarlet letter on Hester’s bosom!” (p 82). Throughout the book, Pearl constantly reminds Hester of the scarlet letter, as if she is purposely making her uncomfortable. “Again, as if her mother’s agonized gesture were meant only to make sport for her, did little Pearl look into her eyes, and smile!” (p 82). Pearl herself being the product of sin, is a constant reminder to her mother that the scarlet letter cannot be neglected. Hawthorne shows this symbolism various times throughout the story. In Chapter two, during the first scaffold scene when Hester tries to hide away her scarlet letter with Pearl, Hawthorne indicates how useless that would be, considering that Pearl is the personification of her sin. “In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another…” (p 45). One of the most significant scenes is in Chapter nineteen, when Hester lets down her hair and removes the scarlet letter, causing Pearl to “burst into a fit of passion” (p 180) Pearl was so upset that Hester removed her scarlet letter, because she felt as if she removed a part of herself. Pearl knows what the scarlet letter means, and that it is somehow associated with her. No matter how much Hester wants to cover up her sin, Pearl prevents her…show more content…
When Hester and Pearl are walking they notice Chillingworth with Dimmesdale. After Pearl throws a prickly burr at Dimmesdale she yells “Come away, Mother! Come away, or yonder old Black Man will catch you! He hath got hold of the minister already. Come away, Mother, or he will catch you! But he cannot catch little Pearl!” (p 115). In this quote Pearl can sense what an evil man Chillingworth really is. She knows where his true intentions lie, and what he really wants with Dimmesdale. Pearl knows that Chillingworth isn’t there to help him. He has a hold over Dimmesdale already, but he cannot catch her because she is the only one aware that he is out for revenge. She warns her mother to stay away, because she is blind to Chillingworth. For Chillingworth, Pearl is almost the reason as to why he wants to seek revenge on Dimmesdale. Whenever he looks at her, he knows that her father, the same man that committed adultery with his wife, is still out
Open Document