Essay The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Essay The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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“The Significance of a Pearl”
Pearls can be very difficult to find in the vast oceans, but once found they can come at an expensive but worthwhile cost for the owner. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, Pearl, who is the result of the adultery between Hester and Dimmesdale, resembles a pearl from the ocean. Apart from Hester Prynne, the woman who bears the shame of the scarlet letter A, her daughter Pearl is also an important character closely connected with the outcomes of their lives. Therefore Hester giving Pearl her name relates to the significance of a pearl formed in the ocean; the cost of the object, the rarity of the pearl, and being a treasure to the beholder.
Initially Pearl was portrayed as the result of an adulterous relationship between Hester and Dimmesdale and all of the wrongdoings she committed prior the Pearl’s birth. Being worth thousands of dollars, pearls also come at an expensive cost to the owner. Similarly, Pearl came at a harsh cost to her mother, Hester, who was ridiculed and embarrassed by the public. Standing very vulnerable on the scaffold, Hester “had fortified herself to encounter the stings and venomous stabs of public contumely” (55). After having her daughter, Hester suffered through mean-spirited and abusive comments from the citizens surrounding her; she was never able to become apart of the society with the scarlet letter sewn on her chest. Not only was Pearl an expensive cost to her mother and her father, but also to herself. Pearl was thought to be the devil incarnate since she was the result of an unholy sin her mother committed. All of the townspeople, including the children, saw Pearl as an evil spirit; she was never equivalent to the other Puritan children. As a result ...


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..., so it signified the existence of her own life. When Hester’s daughter was born “the first object of which Pearl seemed to become aware was the scarlet letter on Hester’s bosom!” (93). As a result of wearing the letter everyday since Pearl was born, Hester continues to wear it since it signifies the presence of her daughter. Pearls in the ocean are related to Pearl in the novel because both are small treasures to someone important in their lives.
Hester giving Pearl her name relates to the significance of a pearl formed in the ocean; the cost of the object, the rarity of the pearl, and being a treasure to the beholder. Pearl has to progress through life with many difficulties, but her oddity gives her the ability to prosper. As a result from adultery, Pearl resembles the type of pearl in the ocean; being very costly, rare, and a treasure to someone in their life.

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