The austere Puritan ways punish Hester through banishment from the community and the church, simultaneously punishing Pearl in the process. This isolation leads to an unspoken detachment and animosity between her and the other Puritan children. Thus we see how Pearl is conceived through sin, and how she suffers when her mother and the community situate this deed upon her like the scarlet letter on her mother's bosom. Hester Prynne impresses her feelings of guilt onto Pearl, whom she sees as a reminder of her sin, especially since as an infant Pearl is acutely aware of the scarlet letter "A" on her mother's chest. When still in her crib, Pearl reaches up and grasps the letter, causing "Hester Prynn [to] clutch the fatal token… so infinite was the torture inflicted by the intelligent touch of Pearl's baby-hand" (Hawthorne 88).
The Scarlet Letter is a novel with much symbolism. Throughout the novel several characters represent other ideas. One of the most complex and misunderstood characters in the novel is Pearl, the daughter of Hester Prynne. Pearl, throughout the story, develops into a dynamic symbol – one that is always changing. Although Pearl changes, she always symbolizes evil.
To Pearl herself, the scarlet letter is part of her life which accompanied her to grow up. Pearl was born out of love of Hester and Dimmesdale as well as the sin of adultery which was committed by an act of passion. In the public views, the first day she came to the world, she was labeled by the shameful letter. In addition, Pearl coexisted with the letter. When she was still a little baby, the letter brightly shining on her mother`s bosom was the first thing she recognized.
Hawthornes Use of Pearl as Symbolism in The Scarlett Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne commingles the use of symbolism frequently in his book The Scarlet Letter. The most complex of these symbols is Pearl, the daughter of the illicit relationship between Hester Pyrnne and Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Pearl possesses intelligence, imagination and an attitude of inquisitiveness and determination, which occasionally gives way to sheer disobedience of her mother’s will. She is a girl of diverse temperaments. Her unusual behavior leads to appellations of different sorts usually inauspicious.
As a result Pearl symbolizes a release of sin. She is essentially the road from childhood to adulthood, innocence to innocence lost to finally accepting the card that we are all delved with, and that’s life after sin. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote the fictional story of Hester Prynne and her public humiliation as she is forced to wear the letter “A” on her chest due to her giving birth to an illegitimate child. The scarlet letter “A” stands for many things in the book, but the initial meaning is that of adultery. The baby is Pearl and the name is given to her because she is worth so much to Prynne as in “her mother’s only treasure!” The beginning of the story sets the stage for what Prynne and Pearl will go through, it also sets up the state of a puritan utopia.
A pearl is a precious thing; the finest example of something; pure, white, sinless. However, this distinct character, Pearl is unwanted, a sign of transgression, taint, dirty, and full of sin. In The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne commits adultery and has a baby named Pearl who is the symbol of her mother's sin. Pearl is a rebellious outcast within The Scarlet Letter. She plays a role in key narrative events and due to the embodiment of her mother's sin her actions represent her identity.
Nathaniel Hawthorne does more than just characterize Pearl as Hester’s child in his novel The Scarlet Letter. Pearl is introduced right in the beginning as a symbol of Hester’s sin: adultery. Pearl, as she develops into a toddler, is delved more into as a symbol of the sin. She is beyond what anyone around her would see her as, which is a child. Hawthorne, of course, showed the most symbolism to Pearl, but another help to understand just how important of a symbol she was, was Cindy Lou Daniels.
Pearl is The Scarlet Letter Pearl is the living embodiment of the scarlet letter because she forces Hester and Dimmesdale to accept their sins. The Puritan society looks at Pearl as a child of the devil, and a black hearted girl because she is the result of sin. Hester and Dimmesdale are both in the same situation in Pearl's eyes. Pearl wants Hester to realize that she is not the worst person in the world before she removes the scarlet letter. Pearl wants Dimmesdale to accept his sin, and be part of their life publicly.
So is Pearl a symbol of evil? The very first time Hawthorne uses Pearl as a symbol is when he is talking about the one thing that attracts her attention. “The infants’ eyes had been caught by the glimmering of the gold embroidery about the letter.” (79) The scarlet letter “A” is a beautiful sight to Pearl. I feel like her attraction to it is not just because of its beautiful embroidery, but because of what it means. As an infant she can’t very well know what it means, however, Hawthorne is using it to make Hester aware.
Both Arthur Dimmesdale and Hester Prynne bear the punishment of their adultery, which evidenced itself in their daughter Pearl. While Dimmesdale plagues himself with guilt and Hester lives with the brand of the scarlet "A", it is Pearl who receives the worst penalty, suffering for a sin which she did not even commit. The village where she resides associates her with the circumstances of her birth, branding her with a reputation as difficult to bear as her mother's. Although many in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter endure the results of sin, none have punishment equal to that of little Pearl's. From the moment she is born in the cold, heartless prison, Pearl is placed under scrutiny.