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Sex And Adultery In 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…
When Pearl is three months old, she is revealed to the crowd on the pedestal of shame. Her mother wore a red letter “A” made out of fine red cloth with elaborate embroidery of gold thread surrounding the letter that was placed on her bosom. Hawthorne states, “it had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and in closing her in a sphere by herself.” (40) When Hester holds Pearl in her arms, she places her upon her bosom opposite the scarlet letter in attempts to dissociate Pearl from her sin. As an infant, Pearl forms an early awareness of the scarlet letter. Pearl has not committed the sin, but the letter “A” will also cast a spell upon Pearl which will impact her personality throughout the Scarlet…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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