Does Pearl, In The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne, Have Preternatural Knowledge Of The Symbolism Of The Letter And What The Characters Truly Represent?

1694 words - 7 pages

Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is a novel about the guilt of sin in a Puritanical society and how sometimes it is better to face your mistakes and admit them than to hide them and suffer inside. The result of sin can often produce something beautiful. Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale are the sinners in this book. They commit adultery and bring a child into the world. That child is Pearl. Pearl is a beautiful and stunning girl. Everywhere she goes the attention is on her. There is nothing sinful about her except that she was bred from sin. Puritan society considers adultery a serious charge. It was easy for Hester to be labeled as an adulterer because she was pregnant without a husband to be the father. However, Hester refused to reveal who the father was, so Dimmesdale dealt with his sin personally instead of publicly. What everyone does not know is that Hester's husband, who was long forgotten and thought to be dead, is in Boston is manipulating Dimmesdale with evil and black magic. Pearl is the bright star in this miserable life that Hester has to deal with. Pearl encompasses the beauty and free-spirit that Hester once had. She is a wild, uncontained child who does not feel any of the pressures of Puritan society. There is something special about her, particularly in her behavior. Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Pearl displays preternatural knowledge of subjects that she has never been informed about, like whom Dimmesdale and Chillingworth really are, and why Hester wears the scarlet letter.Reverend Dimmesdale keeps as much distance as possible from Hester and Pearl throughout most of the book. He is not with them alone until close to the end. Pearl does not really have any relationship with him, which is why her comments and actions towards him are uncanny and show that she knows more than she is given credit for. She shows affection toward him during their interactions that are more than they should be. She treats him like someone who should be in her life and means a lot to her. She has never been told who her father is, but it is evident that she has some knowledge that Dimmesdale is him. When Hester and Pearl go to the Governor's mansion to plead for Hester to be allowed to keep Pearl, Dimmesdale argues in Hester's favor. Pearl shows her first inexplicable action toward Dimmesdale at this occasion. Hawthorne writes, "Pearl, that wild and flighty little elf, stole softly towards him, and taking his hand in the grasp if both of her own, laid her cheek against it; a caress so tender, and withal so unobtrusive...." (Page 113). Pearl's actions are described as those of love by Hawthorne. He wants us to know that Pearl loves Dimmesdale, even though he will not come forward and say it to her. We find out later on through more incidents that Pearl really does love Dimmesdale. This is clearly exemplified in Dimmesdale's speech on the scaffold. Pearl goes over to him, when he's on his knees about to die, and kisses him. This shows that...

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