Suffering from the Tolls of Sin in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne In Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter, many of the characters suffer from the tolls of sin, but none as horribly as Hester's daughter Pearl. She alone suffers from sin that is not hers, but rather that of her mother's. From the day she is conceived, Pearl is portrayed as an offspring of vice. She is introduced into the discerning, pitiless domain of the Puritan religion from inside a jail; a place untouched by light, as is the depth of her mother's sin. The austere Puritan ways punish Hester through banishment from the community and the church, simultaneously punishing Pearl in the process.
Pearl as a Symbol in The Scarlet Letter The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a book of much symbolism. One of the most complex and misunderstood symbols in this novel is Pearl, the daughter of Hester Prynne. The novel opens with a scene in which we learn about the sin Hester has committed, adultery. Hester has a baby and she refuses to turn in her baby's father, Arthur Dimmesdale. Because this sin is considered to be one of the worst in the Puritan society, Hester is forced to wear a scarlet "A" which stands for adultery.
“[T]he evil which she [inherits] from her [mother] must be great indeed, if a noble woman [does] not grow out of this elfish child.” (62) Pearl is born out-of-wedlock and adultery. She has to live with that sin all of her life. Hester fears that it will be her fault if Pearl does not grow up into someone with a good heart. All of Hester’s grief from her sinful act with Dimmesdale transfers into Pearl to give her a “demon ori... ... middle of paper ... ...earl knows that this is mean and she doesn’t like it when people stare at her and Hester and say mean things to them. Pearl is in love with the scarlet letter, and she does not have any friends because she is consumed in the depravity of the scarlet letter and her mother.
Hester Prynne's guilt is the result of her committing adultery, which has a significant effect on her life. Hester is publicly seen with the scarlet letter when she first emerges out of the cold dark prison. "It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing her in a sphere by herself" (49). The spell that is mentioned is the scarlet letter, "so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom" (49). The scarlet letter is what isolates her from everyone else because it symbolizes sin.
790-793). Yet, the punishments for these vile sexual encounters are suffered only by Sin. The latter advance being so vile that she suffers it incessantly as she experiences the painful births of the dogs over and over again, "hourly conceived/And hourly born" (ll796-797). This gross imagery foreshadows what Eve will soon experience after the fall of Eden. It is also important to note that Sin carries the entire burden of her family's vice within her womb as would Eve and all of her daughters.
The people of the town were angry and astonished that Hester, a fair young lady, had sinned. To sin was a shameful thing to do and thus, in the early chapters of the book, Hester’s scarlet letter is perceived as a mark of sin and shame. As time passed, Hester was often referred to by the “A” that symbolized her sin. When she went to the Governor’s home, the young puritan children who were playing saw her approaching and exclaimed “Behold, verily, there is the woman of the scarlet letter…!” (Hawthorne 93) On one occasion, the scarlet “A” virtually hid Hester, so that all that could be seen of her was her mark of sin. “…the scarlet letter was represented in exaggerated and gigantic proportions, so as to be greatly the most prominent feature of her appearance…she seemed absolutely hidden behind it.” (Hawthorne 97) For ... ... middle of paper ... ...at have deemed me holy!
A soiled and twisted love triangle connects these three individuals as Hester’s persecution draws near. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses these individuals to exemplify guilt, hypocrisy and vengeance through secrecy and sin in The Scarlet Letter. Hester Prynne pities the life of her daughter Pearl, labeled a child of sin and a product of adultery. Pearl is in essence a real representation of the scarlet letter that she bears. Hester’s own doing lays out the fate of her child.
In the scene where Hester is with her daughter Pearl stepping up on the scaffold as punishment and her sin is announced to the townspeople, Governor Bellingham states,“‘At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne’s forehead. Madame Hester would have winced at that I warrant me. But she--the naughty baggage--little will she care what they put upon the bodice of her gown!’” (Hawthorne 49). This shows that Hester is publically facing her sin, and is dealing with the torture and embarrassment of it. She knows that she will forever live in i... ... middle of paper ... ...awthorne 174) When Pearl is in public, she is constantly being made fun of and discriminated against by the townspeople and children.
Hester is forced to wear a scarlet “A”on her breast for the rest of her life. (1.) She lives as an outcast. At first, Hester displays a defiant attitude by boldly march from prison towards the pillory. However, as time goes on, the public humiliation of her sin weighs heavily upon her soul.