Sex And Adultery In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Sex and adultery created conflict in a Puritan society. Pearl is the symbolic character, created by Hawthorne, as a product of an adulterous affair that challenges these moral beliefs in the Puritan Society. Pearl’s personality shows the struggles that surround her due to the unforgivable sin that Hester Prynne and the unnamed father (Dimmesdale) committed. Pearl’s journey in The Scarlet Letter from infancy on “the pedestal of shame” to her influence for Dimmesdale’s salvation at his death allows her to grow up “amid human joy and sorrow, nor forever do battle with the world, but be a women in it.” ( Hawthorne 197). Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author, uses Pearl’s character to create a powerful message throughout The Scarlet Letter to symbolize…show more content…
Pearl feels her mother’s shame and in order for Dimmesdale to achieve salvation he must publicly confess. Dimmesdale finally announces his sin of adultery at the Election Day Procession on the scaffolding. As Dimmesdale was dying, Pearl leans in for a kiss on his lips. Hawthorne states “A spell was broken. The great scene of grief, in which the wild infant bore a part, had developed all of her sympathies; and as her tears fell upon her father’s cheeks, they were the pledge that she would grow up amid human joy and sorrow, nor forever do battle with the world, but be a woman in it.” (197). Pearl finally feels dissociated from the letter “A”, puritan rule, and her mother’s sin giving her freedom to pursue her own friendships, love, and religion.
Pearl, Hawthorne’s symbol of the affair, challenges the Puritan belief system throughout the book The Scarlet Letter. While Pearl acts primarily as a symbol of her mother’s shame throughout The Scarlet Letter, by the end of the book she is allowed to become free from shame and isolation. This freedom comes when Dimmesdale publicly confesses and releases her from the imprisonment of the spell. Pearl’s spell was broken and her soul has been set free from Puritanic Rule just like in today’s world where people are set free from sin as a Christian knowing Jesus Christ is our

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