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Pearl as The Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a novel that shows the Puritanical way of life. Society does not accept the fact that Hester has committed the sin of adultery so they cast her out by making her wear a scarlet letter 'A' across her chest. Pearl is the product of Hester's sin, the scarlet letter is the product of society. This idea shows that Pearl is the scarlet letter and the scarlet letter is Pearl. There are many ways in which Pearl is shown to be as the scarlet letter because she is considered to be a part of nature, she is the physical connection between Dimmesdale and Hester, and Pearl is the reason that makes Dimmesdale and Hester to finally accept their sin and make their confession in front of society and the people within society. The reasons are listed in this manner because in the first one nature is a stronger force that human force, then comes her connection between Dimmesdale and Hester because she is the natural connection which is a link from the first one to the second and also her being the reason Dimmesdale and Hester accepting the sin is last because there is a stronger connection between the child and the parents here which is linked from the previous reason.
Pearl is a product of a natural act done by two human beings. This is the act of sex. But society considers it to be bad because there was no social contract between the parents to have that baby. But still its natural so it makes Pearl natural and cast out by society. Even her mother notices that it is society that seems to make Pearl the "evil" girl she is, "She knew that her deed had been evil; she could have no faith, therefore, that its result would be for good. Day after day she looked fearfully into the child's expanding nature; ever dreading to detect some dark and wild peculiarity, that could restore to the guiltiness to which she owed her being."( The Scarlet Letter. Nathaniel Hawthorne. 86) Here what is depicted is that Pearl's evil is from her mother's "guiltiness". So if Hester has none of that guilt that came from society then she would naturally be a good girl. Also, Pearl seems to be connected to nature because there is some contact where Pearl has some kind of communication with Pearl.
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Pearl is the physical connection between Dimmesdale and Hester. Here she really represents the scarlet letter because she is what makes them united. Hester has a scarlet letter, Dimmesdale has a scarlet letter, and Pearl is the Scarlet letter for them because she is their product. There is a natural connection in this family because even though Pearl does not know that Dimmesdale is her father, she has this strong attraction towards him.
"The young minister, on ceasing to speak, had withdrawn a few steps from the group and stood with his face partially concealed in the heavy folds of the window curtain, while the shadow of his figure, which the sunlight cast upon the floor, was tremulous with the vehemence of his appeal. Pearl, that wild and flighty little elf, stole softly towards him, and taking his hand in the grasp of both of her own, laid her cheek against it."(112)
This shows that there is a strong connection between Pearl and her father maybe it is because he also has the scarlet letter on his chest. Also, Pearl tries to connect her parents with her altogether. Pearl asks her father to stand with her and Hester at noontide but he refuses, when Dimmesdale does that, a large figure of the letter 'A' is shown in the sky. During the scene the three characters are together in a union," And there stood the minister, with his hand over his heart; and Hester Prynne with the embroidered letter glimmering on her bosom; and little Pearl herself a symbol, and the connecting link between those two."(151) This shows that pearl is the scarlet letter connecting Hester and Dimmesdale. This leads to Pearl being the reason for Dimmesdale to accept his sin in front of everybody. This is so because if she can control the connection between her parents through the scarlet letter( which is her) then she can also control the will of Dimmesdale whether to make his great confession in front of the public or not to.
Pearl is the reason why Dimmesdale confessed his sin in front of everybody. She seems to have been waiting for the moment of confession so that she can love him again. At one point Pearl stopped showing love to her father until the moment he confessed in public,
" 'My little Pearl' said he, feebly- and there was a sweet and gentle smile over his face, as of a spirit sinking into deep reason... '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 a part, had developed all her sympathies; and as her tears fell upon her father's cheek, they were in the pledge that she would grow up amid human joy and sorrow, nor forever do battle with the world, but be a woman in it."(251)
What is depicted here is that Pearl has lived all her life as the "elf" child just because she was waiting for her father to accept what he did, just like the scarlet letter had to stay on Hester's chest until she confesses who is Pearl's father. Now that Dimmesdale has confesses, Pearl is able to live her normal life just like any other female in society.
Pearl is actually the scarlet letter, she represents the sin of her mother, of her father, but also she wants them to accept truth and to live with it, she cannot rest until this is finally done. Although society does not accept Pearl she is ready to make her parents face up to life.