The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Not very many children are born in prison, nor do many live in prison for the first three months of their lives. It was almost probable that the child might turn out rather eccentric, which Pearl, in a way, did. And it is definitely strange that she was born as a result of a sin. Thus, her mother named her Pearl, “as being of great price, —purchased with all she had, —her mother’s only treasure!” She has very capricious emotions and is impish sometimes. Pearl is an eerily intelligent and devilish child who has a strange connection with the scarlet “A”.

Pearl has a childish innocence that leads her to asking Dimmesdale and Hester several questions, which raise the inquiry of the actual meanings of the questions. Pearl asks, “Wilt thou stand here with mother and me, to-morrow noontide?” (Hawthorne 139). It has a huge significance to it because Pearl is in a sense asking the minister if Dimmesdale will confess his sin to the town on the scaffolding the next day at noon. If he does not, Pearl is not willing to accept him. Pearl also asks her mother what the letter “A” means out of curiosity, and also why the minister always keeps his hand over his heart. Of course, her mother is not willing to answer and cleverly dodges the question by telling Pearl that she was asking silly questions. When Hester and Pearl walk past Chillingworth and Dimmesdale’s home, Pearl sees the men and points at Chillingworth. She says to her mother, “Come away mother! Come away, or yonder old Black Man will catch you! He hath got hold of the minister already! Come away, mother, or he will catch you!” (Hawthorne 122). Pearl sees Chillingworth, and somehow sees the evil within him. She sees that his evil has already captured Dimmesdale. Pearl seems to have cl...

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...e by one, at her mother’s bosom; dancing up and down, like a little elf, whenever she hit the scarlet letter.” (Hawthorne 89). It is strange that Pearl is so affiliated with the scarlet letter because she is like a walking scarlet letter herself!

Uncannily intelligent and devilish at times, Pearl also has a peculiar connection with the scarlet letter. She often asks adults such as Hester questions that catch them off guard. She often acts like a little imp, causing trouble and acting in such ways that are looked down upon. Strangest of all, she has an obsessive connection with the scarlet letter “A”. Although Pearl as major of a character as Hester, it seems as though the whole novel revolves around her. After all, she is as close as one can get to a psychic seven year old.

Works Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: Bantam, 2003. Print.
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