Pearl's Life Without Shame in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Essay

Pearl's Life Without Shame in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Essay

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Pearl's Life Without Shame in The Scarlet Letter


Neither Hester's love for Authur Dimmesdale nor her need for atonement of her sins were the primary reasons why Hester remained in Boston. However, Hester mainly lived out her punishment to set an example for Pearl of what she should not become. Hester Prynne's life had been a continuous series of disappointments and shame. Because she cared for her daughter, Pearl, Hester treated her punishment more as a means of teaching Pearl a respectable lifestyle than a means of confronting her vices.

Hester experienced on three occasions of heart shaking blows, which most would only encounter once in a lifetime. Marrying Roger Chillingworth was Hester Prynne's first documented mistake. She even went as far to call it her most significant sin, despite the array she had to choose from. Not only had Hester married Roger Chillingworth when she did not even love him, she also was partly responsible for bring so much pain on her true love, Authur Dimmesdale. When Chillingworth derived that the Reverend Dimmesdale was Hester's partner in shattering the purity of their marriage, he made it his duty to obtain revenge by torturing Dimmesdale:

This unhappy person had effected such a transformation by devoting himself, for seven years, to the constant analysis of a heart full of torture, and deriving his enjoyment thence, and adding fuel to those fiery tortures which he analyzed and gloated over. The scarlet letter burned on Hester Prynne's bosom. Here was another ruin, the responsibility of which came partly home to her. (116)

Hester could not escape her evil husband nor her liability in augmenting Authur's anguish. Secondly, Hester's adultery was the most prominent sin in the eyes of ...


... middle of paper ...


...er. Hester proved, like she had before, that she was fallible. She momentarily lost sight of Pearl's lesson. However, Reverend Dimmesdale was a martyr, losing his life at the time when Hester's desires for a new setting were at their peak and thus bringing back her primitive motive.

The conclusion in Chapter Twenty-four proved that Hester's decision was the best for Pearl, which was all she had wanted. "Pearl was not only alive, but married, and happy, and mindful of her mother" (177). Pearl was successful after her outcast childhood, free from the mistakes Hester had made and able to be true to everyone around her. Pearl was a better person because her mother was brave enough to keep them there in the fire and teach her daughter how to lead a life without shame.

Works Cited:

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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