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Evil Is In The Eyes Of The Beholder: "The Scarlet Letter", By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1804 words - 7 pages

In society there are always two kinds of people, good people and bad people. The good people, the teachers pets who always do everything right. They follow the rules and always think of others. Then, you have to bad people, the trouble makers who always do the wrong thing. They break the rules and do things their way. Everyone is classified in one group or the other, and is always thought to be good or bad. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Pearl is evil.
Pearl is doomed from the beginning to be evil. “In giving her existence, a great law [is] broken.” (80) Pearl’s evilness is ultimately credited from her roots. Hester’s sin caused Pearl to be corrupt even before she was born. As a punishment to her mother, Pearl has to be spiteful. The letter was not a good enough punishment for Hester, and if Pearl is a perfect child than Hester’s punishment would have been too easy. The normal punishment for Hester’s sin is death but inevitably Pearl is atrocious because Hester’s punishment is simple. Dimmesdale and Hester’s sin is that of great trouble and has to be punished. Dimmesdale, with the fact that Pearl looks like him, and Hester with the fact that she has to care for a mischievous child.
Hester also fears for Pearl for the reason that she is evil when she was born. “[T]he evil which she [inherits] from her [mother] must be great indeed, if a noble woman [does] not grow out of this elfish child.” (62) Pearl is born out-of-wedlock and adultery. She has to live with that sin all of her life. Hester fears that it will be her fault if Pearl does not grow up into someone with a good heart. All of Hester’s grief from her sinful act with Dimmesdale transfers into Pearl to give her a “demon origin.” (89) Pearl acts the way that she does because of her parents actions.
Mistress Hibbins can tell if someone is evil. She knows about Dimmesdale’s sin, even though no one else does. Mistress Hibbins thinks of Pearl as being “ ‘the lineage of the Prince of the Air.’ ” (221) Pearl’s father is the devil, so she has to be pernicious. She was born to the devil, and her behavior reflects that. Mistress Hibbins is the equivalent to evil, and she thinks Pearl was the devil’s daughter. Mistress Hibbins wants to take Pearl to the forest so she can “ ‘see [her] father.’ ” (221) Pearl is born a child of the Black Man and he places her with Hester to punish her for her sin.
Hester thinks of Pearl as evil. Hester is with Pearl every day, and she knows Pearl best. Pearl is a wicked little girl, and can be a nuisance to her mother. Hester can’t discipline her daughter and “[is] ultimately compelled to stand aside, and permit the child to be swayed by her own impulses.” (81) Hester can always use force to deal with her daughter, but this only lasts for so long. Pearl does her own thing, and Hester is forced not to discipline her, because she is so repugnant. Hester loves her daughter and loves to look in her...

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