Free Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter - Character of Pearl

Free Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter - Character of Pearl

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Pearl is The Scarlet Letter

 

Pearl is the living embodiment of the scarlet letter because she forces Hester and Dimmesdale to accept their sins. The Puritan society looks at Pearl as a child of the devil, and a black hearted girl because she is the result of sin. Hester and Dimmesdale are both in the same situation in Pearl's eyes. Pearl wants Hester to realize that she is not the worst person in the world before she removes the scarlet letter. Pearl wants Dimmesdale to accept his sin, and be part of their life publicly.

 

Pearl is all that Hester has in her life. She says that Pearl: "keeps me here in life! Pearl punishes me too! See ye not, she is the scarlet letter, only capable of being loved, and so endowed with a millionfold the Power of retribution of my sin?" (Hawthorne 100). Hawthorne shows that Pearl represents the scarlet letter not only symbolically but literally as well. Hester says that Pearl is the living scarlet letter, and causes Hester more anguish than the scarlet letter itself. Pearl is only difficult when she sees her mother trying to flee her sins the wrong way. This is why Pearl makes her mother keep the scarlet letter.

 

Hester knows that she did a bad thing, but she does not feel that she is a good person, and will not feel that way until she accepts her sins. Hester wants to run away from the situation, leaving her sin behind her, and live content with Dimmesdale as a sinner with another sinner. Pearl will not let that happen because she knows that by leaving, Hester is escaping her sins and living life thinking that she is a bad person. Hester talks of leaving with Dimmesdale: "Let it suffice, that the clergyman resolved to flee, and not alone. ....(Dimmesdale) "But now-since I am irrevocably doomed-wherefore should I not snatch the solace allowed to the condemned culprit before his execution? Or, if this be the path to a better life, as Hester would persuade me, I surely give up no fairer prospect by pursuing it!" (Hawthorne 184). Hester desires to leave the world that she is a sinner in, and live a new life. Dimmesdale knows that he is going to die soon, so why not leave the place of his sin and go with Hester to a better life.

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Dimmesdale's heart is burning from the inside because of the weight of his sin, and he knows that he will die, or reveal his sin to the town. Pearl wants Dimmesdale to accept his sin, and does not want her mother to run from hers, so she acts stubborn.

 

Hester makes fleeing the town easier for her by throwing the scarlet letter away. Pearl acts as the scarlet letter by attempting to make her accept her sin. "The child turned her eyes to the point indicated; and there lay the scarlet letter.... (Hester) "But, on very truth, she is right as regards this hateful token. I must bear its torture just a few days longer." (Hawthorne 192). Pearl, as the living embodiment of the scarlet letter, makes her mother wear the scarlet letter unless she is going to accept her sins by realizing that she is not the worst person in the world. By taking off the scarlet letter, Hester is falsely relieving herself of the sin she committed. Until she realizes that she is not the most sinful person in the world, she must wear the scarlet letter. When Hester is given the chance to remove the scarlet letter, she does not take that chance because she thinks that she still is an awful person. Pearl sees this also in her mother. So Pearl will not let her mother remove the letter for the wrong reasons.

 

Dimmesdale is Pearl's father, but he does not show or act as if he were while in public. Pearl only wants Dimmesdale to accept and announce his sin before she can accept him into her and Hester's lives. Dimmesdale and Hester think of running away together, away from their sins, but Pearl stops them in an effort to make Dimmesdale take responsibility for what he did.

 

Dimmesdale accepts his sin: "My little Pearl," said he, feebly-and there was a sweet gentle smile over his face, as of a spirit sinking into deep repose; nay, now that the burden was removed, it seemed almost as if he would be supportive with the child-"dear little Pearl, wilt thou kiss me now? Thou wouldst not, yonder, in the forest! But now thou wilt?" Pearl kissed his lips. A spell was broken. The great scene of grief, in which the wild infant bore apart, had developed all her sympathies" (Hawthorne 233). This moment is the exact happening that Pearl wanted for almost the whole book. Dimmesdale accepts his sin on the scaffold with Hester and Pearl. By taking responsibility for his actions Pearl shows her affection. Hawthorne uses the word father involving Pearl and Dimmesdale only after he accepts his sin. By saying "A spell was broken." Hawthorne depicts that Dimmesdale had done what Pearl wants him to, and what the scarlet letter needs to make Hester do; accept and forgive her sin.

 

Pearl truly is the living embodiment of the scarlet letter because she tries to make her Parents accept their sins, and move on with life. Hester tries to relieve herself of the burden that the scarlet carries, but she tried to do for false and wrong reasons. Dimmesdale does accept his sin, and announces it to the entire town, and that is exactly what Pearl wanted. This was easier for Dimmesdale than Hester to do because he died shortly after, without receiving any public punishment. Dimmesdale's scarlet letter is Pearl; she will not accept him as her father until he accepts his sins. Pearl is the scarlet letter.
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