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
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This again shows that he is not afraid to be with Hester through this ordeal. Dimmesdale is also shown in the book to be a generally a nice person. An example of this is is throughout the book, he tries to get more involved in Pearl’s Life as he sees that they are precious moments with his daughter. Another example is when Dimmesdale says to everyone publically he has committed the sin of adultery. Instead of reporting him to the authorities and having him punished, they congratulate him for being holy as he’s always been.
Pearl, who was a young girl, had some strange qualities including a strange remoteness and intangibility as if she were hovering in air and might vanish like a glimmering light at any given moment. Pearl begun to ask Hester questions about who were father was, but Hester replied saying that she had a "Heavenly Father" since she did not know how to fully respond to the question. Hester was at risk of getting Pearl taken away from her by Governor Bellingham because he thought that Hester was not responsible enough to raise such a young child. Pearl was ultimately able to stay with Hester since Mr. Dimmesdale had been able to defend Hester and her rights as the mother of a child. Mr. Dimmesdale's health began to steadily decline and he was in need of assistance, but was not able to get any until Roger Chillingworth appeared.
The book, “The Scarlet Letter” written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a thoughtful story about a woman named Hester Prynne, who’s married to Rodger Chillingworth, had been living in the new colonies of America while her husband was still in England. Whilst her husband was nowhere near her, she cheated with none other than the new preacher of the town, Arthur Dimmesdale, and a child, Pearl, was conceived from their secret affair. The town, in response, shunned her, and when Chillingworth surprisingly arrived he soon found out who the father was and sought to destroy Dimmesdale for not coming forward to the public. Although Chillingworth is depicted as a cold-hearted, revengeful, old man, he also exudes characteristics of protectiveness, compassion
In the story, The Scarlet Letter, Pearl is a symbolism for numerous different contents. Pearl was a child of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale. In the story, Pearl was known to be a mistake, but also a blessing to her mother. Pearl is a young but odd. In the story, Pearl made her own letter out of eelgrass.
Established in the later parts of the novel Nathaniel Hawthorne exhibits that Pearl is becoming more of an adult and through her experiences she has procured knowledge becoming a more intelligent character. As Pearl converses with her mother she questions if “[Dimmesdale] [will] go back with us, hand in hand, we three together, into the town” (Hawthorne 316). Pearl manages to comprehend that Hester had an affair with Dimmesdale before others in the colony. Pearl is also able to connect simple observations that she has made over time like that of Dimmesdale grasping his heart to that of the scarlet letter on Hester’s bosom.
In the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Pearl starts of as a secondary character as the novel progresses Pearl becomes significant to many of the key events of the story. Some examples of this are the scene in the scaffold at night, when Hester meets Dimmsdale in the woods, and when she makes the connection about the letter in her mother's bosom and the reason why the minister holds his hand on his chest. Pearl is a very intuitive, smart, wild and clever child; and at her young age is impressive how this child knows who to trust. She is acts as Hester's conscience as the novel progresses in many ways. Pearl is a very intuitive character making her more interesting.
He tells Dimmesdale that he has known about Hester and him and anywhere they went he was never alone. "Hadn't thou sought the whole world over," said he, looking darkly at the clergyman, "there was no place so secret- no high place nor lower place, where thou couldst have escaped me- saved on this very scaffold (Hawthorne 230, 231). Chillingworth told Dimmesdale that he knew the whole time that Hester and him had a relationship and Dimmesdale was the father of Pearl. Chillingworth fails to mention his own hypocrisy and secret that he was plotting revenge on Dimmesdale. Chillingworth also never mentioned that him or Hester were ever
Dimmesdale and Chillingworth both have secrets that make them look and act differently, their secrets affect their character and how they do their job. Dimmesdale is the father of Pearl but he doesn 't want to face the same humiliation as Hester did for his sins. Because of his secret he self punishes and fasts, he also preaches better than he did before although his health is failing. Chillingworth’s secret is that he was the husband of Hester while he was away, before she cheated on him. Chillingworth gets uglier and uglier driven by the need to get revenge on Pearl’s father.
This interaction between infant Pearl and Dimmesdale is significant because Pearl is described as a child who only shows affection towards her family (Hester). As Pearl ages, many Puritans conspire to separate her from her mother. Upon hearing this, Hester visits the governor’s hall to try and persuade him to allow Pearl to remain with her. Hester is ultimately allowed to keep Pearl, not because of her words, but because of the words spoken by Dimmesdale, who convinces Governor Bellingham and Reverend John Wilson. Afterwards, Pearl “stole softly towards him, and, taking his hand in the grasp of both her own, laid her cheek against it” (79).
Throughout the book, Pearl is shown as a symbol of Hester's sin. In The Scarlet Letter, it says “But she named the infant “Pearl”, as being of great price, purchased with all she had, her mother's only treasure!”(Hawthorne 81). This is showing that Hester loves Pearl, but feels bad that she has to live her life being the product of sin. In the novel, Hester is always reminded of her sin and Pearl is the product of Hester and Dimmesdale's sin.
When Pearl looks at her mother’s reflection in a convex mirror, she claims to exclusively see the A: “the scarlet letter was represented in exaggerated and gigantic proportions, so as to be greatly the most prominent feature of her appearance. In truth, she seemed absolutely hidden behind it” (95). Hawthorne clearly illustrates how Pearl and the public choose to see Hester merely as her sin. Even numerous years later, Hawthorne suggest that the townspeople still cannot view Hester
Hester went to plead that the officials of the town leave Pearl in her care and not take her away to be raised by any one else. When it seems that Hester is losing this battle she asks Dimmesdale to speak in her defense which he does quite passionately. This desire to protect the mother and daughter bond of Hester and Pearl is what seems to draw Pearl to approach Dimmesdale and take “his hand in the grasp of both her own…” and lay “her cheek against it; a caress so tender…” (The Scarlet Letter, Chapter VIII) Dimmesdale’s defense and Pearl’s reaction are two cues that lead the reader to begin seeing the truth of who Pearl’s father
Truly, Pearl is an important character in the work and is both the cause of Hester’s salvation and Dimmesdale’s public confession. Pearl allows her mother to live her life freely and prompts Dimmesdale to be true to his family. She acts as the moderator in both of their lives giving them peace and hope while also making them realize reality. From three months old to adulthood, she had an effect on their lives that outweighs that of any other person. Children may be young and innocent, but they are a foundation for many people in times of
Rossi1 Matthew Rossi Asha Appel English 4 11/15/14 Growing up Through the Actions of Others In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Pearl changes when different characters thoughts and believes are portrayed through voice or objects. This leads her to be very malleable to and be ever evolving. The townspeople, Hester, and Dimmesdale now play a key role in shaping Pearl from a product of sin into a god like child.
Hester and Dimmesdale did very wrong to themselves and everyone around them. Dimmesdale was the reason of Hester Prynne cheating on Roger Chillingworth. Not only did Hester just cheat, but she had a child with Dimmesdale, who served as a conscience for Hester. In the story, it says, “Roger Chillingworth...who for two or three years past had been settled in the town.” This quote shows that Chillingworth is not the father because Pearl is 3 years and Chillingworth had been in town for 3 years.