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The Scarlet Letter-- Analysis of Pearl Prynne

Uploaded by linzylew242 on Sep 17, 2006

Pearl Prynne


In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, he created a symbol of great magnitude. A character that changed the story for good and for worse, her name was Pearl Prynne. Pearl is not meant to be a realistic character. Rather, she is a complicated symbol of an act of love and passion– adultery.

Pearl is the living version of the scarlet letter. “It was the scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed with life.” (98) When Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale committed an act of passion, they did not take into account the consequences. Hester was to wear a scarlet letter on her bosom for the rest of her life and deal with a child born out of sin. Pearl is a constant reminder of Hester’s sin. There are many instances throughout the novel in which Pearl fixates on the letter and seems to connect with it. She creates her own letter out of seaweed and moss, sees the letter in the breastplate at Governor Bellingham’s mansion, and points at it in the forest scene with Hester and Dimmesdale. When she was a baby, it was the very first thing she recognized. “But that the first object of which Pearl seemed to become aware was–shall we say it? –the scarlet letter on Hester’s bosom!” (93) When Pearl was told that she came from some heavenly father, she denied it. This connects Pearl and the scarlet letter because the letter is said to be the devil’s letter. “Once in my life I met the Black Man!” said her mother. “This scarlet letter is his mark!” (182)

The sin of adultery was committed and a child was conceived out of a forbidden sin. Pearl is the indicator of transgression that everyone could see, feel, talk to, and love. The fact that Hester loved Pearl made it difficult to believe that she had done wrong. Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale are marked for the rest of their earthly lives with the mark of earthly sins. “In giving her existence, a great law had been broken, and the result was a being whose elements were perhaps beautiful and brilliant…” (87)

Even the way Hester dressed Pearl was symbolic. The colors connect Pearl to the letter and Hester’s passion....

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Uploaded by:   linzylew242

Date:   09/17/2006

Category:   Literature

Length:   4 pages (935 words)

Views:   7137

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