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Mistakes are Valuable as Pearls

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Everyone learns from their mistakes. Something helpful can always be learned from every mistake. Hester Primm learns this after her mistake in The Scarlet Letter. After being publicly shamed for adultery, Hester has a daughter she names Pearl. Little does she know how much of an affect Pearl will have on her. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Pearl is a major symbol that develops Hester and Dimmesdale’s dealings with their guilt and shame and develops her own theme to the novel.

Pearl plays as a mirror of Hester and of her guilt and sin. She is almost like another scarlet letter. She shows Hester’s outer guilt and shame. When people look at Pearl they are reminded of Hester’s sin. Just as the book describes the scarlet letter to be beautiful and immaculate, Hester dresses Pearl in the same way. She dresses her with fancy and extrinsic dresses. It would seem as if Hester is trying to cover up her sin a shame with something else. She tries to have people look at Pearl as a beautiful, living, genuine girl, rather than a mistake brought on by a sin. Pearl also acts a mirror to Hester herself. Just as Hester, Pearl is beautiful, determined, confident, and, most importantly, passionate. Pearl seems to be the part of Hester that she was before she was punished. The part of her that left with her purity, to be replaced with the guilt of her sin. “But she named the infant ‘Pearl,’ as being of great price,-purchased with all she had-her mother’s only treasure.” (pg. 81) This line describe why Pearl received her name. Hester named her Pearl because she saw her to have great value. Pearl was Hester’s greatest thing she owned. Pearl was as expensive as taking away Hester’s old passion, so Hester found her happiness in Pearl. Her d...

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...is eaten away by his guilt throughout the book. “...gnawed and tortured by some black trouble of the soul, and given over to the machinations of his deadliest enemy…” (pg. 128) This quote shows what Dimmesdale’s guilt and shame had done to him. He was being eaten away by “his deadliest enemy”, his conscience. People often try to ignore their guilt and most likely fail and end up stressing out and always being guilty about it. Eventually, they are eaten by it and are physically hurt by it.

Pearl is a major symbol in The Scarlet Letter as her own theme and a development in mirroring Hester and Dimmesdale’s shame. She affects these characters more than they know. She is also a more important character than is initially thought to be. She teaches a very important lesson about mistakes. People should learn from their mistakes and embrace them, rather than hold them in.
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