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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 recognizes characters and their significance in her and her mother’s life. There are some points in the story where Pearl is considered a child of the Devil simply because she is the result of a sin. Pearl continuously finds ways to defy the image of being an evil child. Throughout the story, Pearl illustrates an “elf-like” intelligence and a maturity that children do not normally have. Pearl gives her mother the hope she needs to carry on in her life with her head held high and the ability to wear the scarlet letter, “A”, with confidence.
In the beginning of the story, Pearl is a young infant who symbolizes the goodness of her mother’s sinful act of adultery. Although she is the outcome of her mother’s sin, Pearl does not let it define her. When Hester is first determined in the story she is put in front of everyone in the market-place for public shaming. The author states, “she bore in her arms a child, a baby of some three months old … acquainted only with the gray twilight of a dungeon” (Hawthorne 95). This quote shows that Pearl has only been in a dreary environment since she was born. Her mother’s sin has deprived Pearl of a normal life with sunshine and familial love. Stade expla...

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...d of the Devil, but the goodness of her mother’s sinful act. Pearl constantly shows intelligence and maturity that surprises many of the characters. Lastly, Pearl is put in the story to complete a mission, and she completes this by showing her mother hope and grace. Pearl helps her mother to understand that the scarlet “A” means able.

Works Cited

Hawthorne. Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. NewYork: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 2003. Print.
Levin, David. “Allegory in the Scarlet Letter”. Readings on the Scarlet Letter. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998. 46-56. Print.
Stade, Nancy. Comments and Questions: the Scarlet Letter. New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 2003. 230-231. Print.
Telgen, Diane. Novels for Students. New York: Gale, 1997. 307-318. Print.
McNamara, Anne Marie. “The Role of Pearl”. Readings on the Scarlet Letter. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998. 46-56. Print.
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