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Pearl

Uploaded by Admin on Feb 07, 2000

One of the most complex and elaborate characters in The Scarlet Letter is Pearl, the daughter of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale. Pearl, throughout the story, develops into a dynamic individual, as well as an extremely important symbol- one who is constantly changing. Pearl is involved in a complex history, and as a result is viewed as different and is shunned because of her mother’s sin. Pearl is a living Scarlet A to Hester, as well as the reader, acting as a constant reminder of Hester’s sin. Hawthorne uses vivid descriptions to characterize Pearl. She is first described as the infant; “…whose innocent life had sprung, by the inscrutable decree of Providence, a lovely and immortal flower, out of the rank luxuriance of a guilty passion.” (81). From the beginning of her life she is viewed as the product of a sin, as a punishment. Physically, Pearl has a “beauty that became every day more brilliant, and the intelligence that threw its quivering sunshine over the tiny features of this child.” (81-82). Pearl is ravishing, with “beauty that shone with deep and vivid tints’ a bright complexion, eyes possessing intensity both of depth and glow, and hair already of a deep, glossy brown, and which, in after years, would be nearly akin to black.” Combining with her extreme beauty, are the lavish dresses that she wears. The exquisite dresses and her beauty cause her to be viewed as even stranger from the other typical Puritan children, whom are dressed in traditional clothing. As a result, she is accepted by nature and animals, and ostracized by the other Puritan children. “Pearl was a born outcast of the infantile world… the whole peculiarity, in short, of her position in respect to other children.” (86). Pearl was not accepted by the children; her unavoidable seclusion was due to the sin of her mother. On the rare occasion that the children would show interest in Pearl she would “grow positively terrible in her puny wrath, snatching up stones to fling at them…” (87) As a result of Pearl’s seclusion from society nature sympathizes with Pearl, which can be seen with the role of the sunshine in the forest. “The light lingered about the lonely child, as if glad of such a playmate,” (168). The sunshine is grateful for Pearl, accepting her as an equal. Hawthorne describes another sign of acceptance as the “great black forest…became the...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   02/07/2000

Category:   The Scarlet Letter

Length:   17 pages (3,792 words)

Views:   1575

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