Pearl And The Scarlet Letter Essay

1297 words - 5 pages

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. Pearl is shunned because of her mother's sin and is also a living representation of the scarlet letter - 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." 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." 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." 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..."The members of the Puritan society view Pearl as a weird, strange little girl, born from a sinful act. However, the characters with a closer, more in depth relationship to the child, feel differently towards Pearl. "She is a strange child! I hardly comprehend her! But thou wilt love her dearly, as I do, and wilt advise me how to deal with her". Hester describes her unbalanced feelings and emotions to Dimmesdale. This statement shows that although Pearl's quirks and oddities cause her to become "strange" in the eyes of others, they form into a love from Hester. This relationship between Hester and Pearl is important because both are ostracized for their irregularities and for the sin and shame of Hester. Dimmesdale responds to Hester's statement with, "I have long shrunk from children, because they often show distrust- a backwardness to be familiar with me. I have even been afraid of little Pearl!" As Dimmesdale has been trying to find peace with himself because of his sin, he has also been attempting to develop a relationship with Pearl. However, this is impossible because he is unable to acknowledge Pearl in public....

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