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A Life Lived Well! Essay

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In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne there are many symbols in his novel. According to Laurence Prerrine defines “[a] literary symbol [as] something that means more than what it is. It is an object, a person, a situation, an action, or some other item that has a literal meaning as well.” Hawthorne uses a physiognomy defined by Laurence Prerrine, Hawthorne “choosing names for [his] character that serve[s] not only to label them but also to suggest something about them”: for example Pearl, Hester Prynne, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth in The Scarlet Letter. As symbolism appears all throughout the story Hawthorne creates his characters in how the name, physical appearance, and behavior of each of his characters.
In Hawthorne story the character Pearl symbolizes living sin, an outcast, a treasure, and a child with knowledge that most puritan children may not have. Pearl is Hester Prynne and Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale’s daughter who is conceived in adultery (49). Because her mother and father were not married this is a sin in the puritan culture (48, 77). Pearl is an outcast for this reason and for not behaving as a puritan child should be have. Pearl would throw rocks, scream like a witch, and run away (84-85). She was also alienated because she was not living in a family that is approved by the magistrate. This disapproval of a single parent home they tried to take her away from her mother (89). This battle for a Christian home for Pearl is the only concern that the magistrate had for her eternal life (92). Hester views Pearl as a “rare treasure” and that she can raise her child in a Christian home like the rest of the other families (80). Pearl’s behavior is like a sprite, or she screams like a wi...


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... a secret to the public (219). Dimmesdale and Chillingworth both have secrets that affect them in the same way but emotionally differently in the ways of physical manifestation.
Nathaniel Hawthorne uses many sensors to symbolize his story with Pearl, Hester, Arthur, and Roger to show that life goes on even when you have gone away from the stereotypes of the people who surround you. From Pearl being a demon child to growing up to becomes a mother to her child or from Hester Prynne keeping her mistake to herself and moving on in life and learning that no matter what the law she broke that she can thrive in her living. As for Dimmesdale and Chillingworth we see one set free when he confesses his sin and one who disappears when there is no sin to keep as a secret. As all lives have its road blocks, but Hester Prynne lives a life learning how to get around the road.



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