Pearl was not accepted by the children; her unavoidable seclusion was due to the sin of her mother. On the rare occasion that the children show interest in Pearl, she lashes out at them. The members of the Puritan society view Pearl as a weird, strange little girl, born from a sinful act. However, the characters with a closer, more in depth relationship to the child, feel differently towards Pearl. “She is a strange child!
Dimmesdale’s guilt for committing a sin and seeing Pearl, someone completely innocent, ostracized by society tortures him to the extent that he physically punishes himself. Chillingworth and Pearl are connected because of their relationships to Dimmesdale and Hester, respectively, as a burden. This however is complex for Pearl as she cannot just be the child of sin because she still has much of a positive cast on them as well. Throughout Hawthorne’s story, Pearl’s association with her mother, Hester, strengthens her significance in the society. Her dealings with her own mother continue to evolve into more and more interesting interactions.
Hester and Pearl were shunned from the public, so all they had left were each other. Pearl, being very wild and bright, had shone light onto Hester’s difficult, dark situation relating to the scarlet letter A. Thus Pearl was a treasure to her mother Hester, through all of the painful times they had to face when surrounded by the public. Without Pearl shining light onto Hester’s life, Hester would have been a different person after experiencing the envy from the Puritans. Also the scarlet letter Hester wore everyday represented Pearl being a treasure to Hester.
In The Scarlet Letter, Pearl is often regarded as a symbol of the suffering of Hester Prynne and the shamed Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, but Pearls significance is more than just symbolizing the sin committed by her parents. She in many ways represents the innocence that the puritan belief regressed itself not to have. Hawthorne constructs Pearl as an evolving symbol for Hester and Dimmsdale and her progression as a character is shown through that of the actions set forth by these characters. Since the inception of the act of adultery by Hester and Dimmesdale, Pearl is developed by sin, but she is not conformed to sin. As a result Pearl symbolizes a release of sin.
If the village had insisted on removing her from her mother’s care, it would have terrified Pearl, as she only trusted that one single loving person. Pearl needed her to stay with her mother so that she could always rely on and trust the person most vital to her. If Pearl moved in with a different family, not only would Pearl suffer, but so would that family. Pearl possessed a quite different personality than most children. She almost appeared a witch to most people who observed her wild behavior.
She takes a very strong liking to him. This makes it much harder on dimmesdale to work through the guilt seeing what a beautiful thing came from his terrible secret. Pearl serves as a blessing to and a curse to Hester. Hester Prynne loves her daughter dearly but she is a constant reminder of the mistakes she has made. Pearl lived a different life than any of the other puritan children.
And even though this is a short story, there are many truths in it. The writing reads like a “say so” but what exactly is being said is more ambiguous. There is a declaration of love for certain, but also of dislike and judgement from someone who is suppose to be loved unconditionally. Yet, this is the mothers process on how to make a girl into a woman though in some ways it’s very “old fashioned” and it is damaging to the overall relationship between the two, undoubtedly causing resentment on the part of the daughter to the mother and an unstable relationship.
The manifestations of truth and innocence in the character, Pearl, help support the overall effect of her being a mysterious creature that Nathaniel Hawthorne produced in The Scarlet Letter. This paradox of one person representing both innocence and also truth, which is the loss of innocence, gives Pearl special qualities and allows her to play a significant role. She is introduced in the beginning of the novel as the result of her mother, Hester’s adulterous relations. She will continue to be the only, living testament to this painful, but real sin. As the story progresses, her high intellect and curiosity tend to make Hester worry about her finding out the reason why they are obviously being treated differently from everyone else in town.
Hawthorne gives the audience a chance to consider their own opinion on what Pearl really stands for. His ambiguity shows the true complexity to Pearl and each of her symbolic meanings. This is clear in all of the symbolic meanings Pearl had. In the novel, Pearl is an excellent example of childish innocence and treasure, evil and sin, and morality. Her will power and imagination make her a blessing and a curse to her mother, who has paid such a great price for her child.
Scarlet Letter - Pearl as a symbol Pearl is a symbol of Hester’s transgressions and even has similar qualities as the sin which she represents. Pearl’s life and behavior directly reflects the unacceptable and abnormal nature of Hester’s adulterous sin. Hester is plagued with more than just a letter “A”; she is given a child from her affair who is just as much a reminder of her sin as the scarlet letter. Ultimately Hester overcomes the shame associated the scarlet letter and creates a sense of family for herself and Pearl. This relationship is integral to the theme of this novel and the development of its characters.