Pearl's Contribution to The Scarlet Letter

Pearl's Contribution to The Scarlet Letter

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Pearl's Contribution to The Scarlet Letter



        In Hawthorne's epic novel, The Scarlet Letter he discusses Pearl, a

main character, and her contribution in making the novel a romantic one.

Hawthorne uses three types of romantic topics relating to Pearl.

Stereotypical characters, supernaturalness of characters, and the imaginary

aspect of characters are all qualities of romantic language Hawthorne uses

to better develop Pearl's character.  Over the course of the novel

Hawthorne uses all of the aspects of romantic language to unfold the life

of Pearl and how she acts having these qualities.



        Pearl's quality of being a stereotypical character makes her blend

into some situations and not into others.  Pearl was portrayed as a

stereotypical "victim of Hester's sin", adultery, because as she walks

through town with her mother the other kids shout and curse at her.  Pearl

takes it in stride and defends her mother and fends off the evil children.

The adults of Boston, mostly Puritans, talk behind Hester's back about the

child being one of a sinner.  Another common stereotype filled by Pearl is

whenever an adult is occupied with something then the child finds something

to do.  When Hester went to the woods to meet with Dimmesdale, Pearl went

off to play in the brook while the two adults talked and then she stopped

when her mother called.  A second example is when Pearl accompanied her

mother to the seashore where they met Chillingworth, Pearl wandered off by

herself and occupied her time by playing with seaweed and the various

animal life that happened to be around.  Children can also notice small

differences in their surroundings that are normally familiar to them.  When

Hester and Dimmesdale where in the woods and decided to flee Boston and

travel to Europe, Hester removed her scarlet letter happily and threw it

into the brook. When she called to Pearl to tell her the news of them

leaving Boston, Pearl went into fits of rage and temper tantrums and would

not come to her mother. This was because she was so used to seeing the

scarlet letter on her mother's bosom.  Pearl's quality of being

stereotypical, compared to all children and characters in general, is

highly unlikely and only adds to the amount of romanticism in the novel.

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        The supernatural aspect of Pearl makes her out to be what many of

us would call monsters or beings from fairy-tales.  Pearl is considered by

the denizens of Boston to be a "devil-child" and not belonging in such a

society. She is also referred to as an "imp" as well as being "elf-like"

and that she would be void of "human joy and sorrow".  Although she may

have been supernatural to the readers of the novel and perchance to the

Puritans of Boston, this all is washed away in the final chapters as she

begins to show warmth and caring.  This was  the completely different than

the image created at the beginning of the novel.  Hawthorne's awareness to

this supernatural appearance makes this one of the most interesting aspects

of romantic language in novels.



        Children are known for the things they do, but it is taken for

granted that all children are like this, but not Pearl because of the

imaginary characteristics that Hawthorne gives her.  First of all, at a

very young age, Pearl became interested in the true meaning of her mother's

scarlet letter. Small children do not usually become interested in

complicated topics such as adultery, and Pearl became more persistent when

her mother tried to ignore her repeated attempts to find the meaning.

Pearl also became interested in finding her real father and took an

interest in Dimmesdale. She was assuming that he was her father, and she

kept questioning him on whether or not he would hold hands with her and

then join them on the scaffolding each afternoon.  Most children do not

show affection so openly to other people, like Pearl did.  Finally at the

end of the novel, when Dimmesdale was dying, Pearl bent over and placed a

kiss upon his forehead, out of the kindness of her heart. Children may

kiss people out in public, but not anyone who had previously locked their

loving feelings inside and who have been referred to as monsters. These

examples of how Pearl was portrayed as being imaginary, give character to

Pearl and make her a well rounded person in the novel as well as to give

meaning to why Hawthorne put her in the novel.



        Pearl is the character who makes this novel a romance and Hawthorne

, who tries and succeeds in using Pearl as a link between Dimmesdale and

Hester, because of her romantic qualities.  He wanted her to be different

from all the other children, but still have the qualities of a normal child.



 I think Hawthorne wanted her to be a bridge of emotions for Hester, for

when Hester thought that life could no longer go on, Pearl would step in

and cheer her up. Hawthorne's well developed characters, especially Pearl,

made the novel one that was interesting to read as well as discuss.



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