In the novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathanial Hawthorne expresses his theme, guilt and blame through the characterization and symbolism of Pearl and the scarlet letter. As we know, following Hester's act of adultery, she became pregnant with Pearl and we get the sense that there is something strange and unnatural about her when first introduced. This is relevant to her symbolism and the many attributes that she represents. Throughout the novel, her symbolism involves innocence, sin, and evil. Furthermore, it is also possible that her name in itself is used to symbolize different elements like a pearl; a treasure much like Pearl becomes for Hester (Hawthorne 41).
Pearl was a burden to Chillingworth, Dimmesdale, and Hester but she was only a burden because she was leading them all towards good. She was more of a divine character helping all three of them and she changed them all or the better. She was labeled evil only because of society’s cynical view. This shows that society was wrong to label her evil just by way of birth. Pearls complex nature of good versus evil was shown through her relationships with her mother, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth.
In Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is the main character who commits the sin of adultery and bears a child. Most readers pay attention to Hester because of her sinful act and the hardships she endures. Her hardships are very important, but the fact about how her daughter, Pearl, has to go through them with her is also crucial to the story’s plot. Pearl is a very complex and important aspect to the story. Even though her mother committed a sinful act of adultery, Pearl still looks up to her mother with love and grace.
Pearl has almost a supernatural sense, that comes from her youth and freewill for seeing things as they really are and pointing them out to her mother. Pearl is a living version of her mother's scarlet letter. She is the consequence of sin and an everyday reminder to her through her actions and being.
Symbolism is often used within literature to bring attention to the overall themes and ideas of a story. In the novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses Pearl as a symbol of Hester’s sin, conscience, and grace to emphasize the theme that there is no escape from sin, and that even though it may affect you, learning from your mistakes can lead to a bright future. Pearl is first introduced in The Scarlet Letter as Hester’s sin, as she is the result of adultery. The reader first views Pearl Hester’s curse, as Hawthorne introduces her in parallel to the devil. He writes: “the infant, during the latter portion of her [Hester’s] ordeal, pierced the air with wailings and screams” (Hawthorne 22).
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. The scarlet letter is given to Hester as a symbol of shame, yet Hester wears it with pride. The town frowned upon her due to her flashy manner of wearing the letter, but in reality, Hester wasn’t proud; the letter had become a part of her identity. She had accepted her sin as she accepts Pearl; she accepts her current state of mind. Pearl for the most part is r... ... middle of paper ... ...ritan doctrine holds them back to fully forgiving her.
At first, the Scarlet Letter placed on Hester's dress was meant to show shame or dishonor. But now, represents the outcome of Hester and Dimmesdale's sin. The judgment caused by the Scarlet Letter results in how she looks at society and how society looks at Hester. Pearl is not an ordinary character, she is an intriguing symbol. A symbol is something that stands for, or represents something else.
How the Characters of the Scarlet Letter Represent Sin Lexico Publishing Dictionary at Dictionary.com defines sin as; 1. A transgression of a religious or moral law, especially when deliberate, and 2. Something regarded as being shameful, deplorable, or utterly wrong. These who definitions cleary represent the sin in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, through the characters Hester Prynne, her daughter Pearl, Dimmesdale the father, and Chillingworth, Hester's husband. Hester Prynne, the wearer of the famous scarlet letter that gave the novel it's name, is the story's source of the unforgivable sin that tears through the community of Boston in the 1600's.
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.
Like Paul's thorn in the flesh, Pearl would bring trouble, heartache, and frustration to Hester, but serve a constructive purpose lying far beyond the daily provocations of her childish impishness. While in many respects a tormentor to Hester, Pearl was also her savior, while a reminder of her guilt, a promoter of honesty and true Virtue; and while an embodiment of Hester's worst qualities, a vision of a better life for Hester and for herself. From the very beginning of The Scarlet Letter, while Hester is shamed by having a baby as tangible evidence of her sin and shame, the responsibility of caring for Pearl and raising her with love and wisdom serves to calm the defiant, destructive passion of Hester's nature and to save her from its wild, desperate promptings. This sentiment is poignantly portrayed in Hester's visit to the Governor's mansion. While there, she pleads with the Governor, magistrates, and ministers that she be allowed to keep Pearl, exclaiming, 'She is my happiness!--She is my torture, none the less!