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Mistakes Are Valuable As Pearls Essay

927 words - 4 pages

Everyone learns from their mistakes. Something helpful can always be learned from every mistake. Hester Primm learns this after her mistake in The Scarlet Letter. After being publicly shamed for adultery, Hester has a daughter she names Pearl. Little does she know how much of an affect Pearl will have on her. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Pearl is a major symbol that develops Hester and Dimmesdale’s dealings with their guilt and shame and develops her own theme to the novel.

Pearl plays as a mirror of Hester and of her guilt and sin. She is almost like another scarlet letter. She shows Hester’s outer guilt and shame. When people look at Pearl they are reminded of Hester’s sin. Just as the book describes the scarlet letter to be beautiful and immaculate, Hester dresses Pearl in the same way. She dresses her with fancy and extrinsic dresses. It would seem as if Hester is trying to cover up her sin a shame with something else. She tries to have people look at Pearl as a beautiful, living, genuine girl, rather than a mistake brought on by a sin. Pearl also acts a mirror to Hester herself. Just as Hester, Pearl is beautiful, determined, confident, and, most importantly, passionate. Pearl seems to be the part of Hester that she was before she was punished. The part of her that left with her purity, to be replaced with the guilt of her sin. “But she named the infant ‘Pearl,’ as being of great price,-purchased with all she had-her mother’s only treasure.” (pg. 81) This line describe why Pearl received her name. Hester named her Pearl because she saw her to have great value. Pearl was Hester’s greatest thing she owned. Pearl was as expensive as taking away Hester’s old passion, so Hester found her happiness in Pearl. Her daughter and her treasure.
Pearl takes the role to develop Dimmesdale’s character in his shame from not aiding Hester. When Pearl is first seen on the scaffold with Hester, she reaches out to Dimmesdale. “Even the poor baby,[...]was affected by the same influence, for it directed its hitherto vacant gaze towards Mr. Dimmesdale and held up its little arms”(pg. 63). Pearl reaches out to Dimmesdale to get his attention, however, he ignores her. This is an image of Dimmesdale beginning care and compassion toward Hester seen in most of the book. Dimmesdale is torn between his own reputation and his love for Hester. He doesn’t know whether to help Hester in her struggle and turn himself in, or to keep his involvement in the situation under wraps. In most of the book, he stays out of the situation. In chapter...

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