Pearl As A Symbol Of Divine Grace

1190 words - 5 pages

The manifestations of truth and innocence in the character, Pearl, help support the overall effect of her being a mysterious creature that Nathaniel Hawthorne produced in The Scarlet Letter. This paradox of one person representing both innocence and also truth, which is the loss of innocence, gives Pearl special qualities and allows her to play a significant role. She is introduced in the beginning of the novel as the result of her mother, Hester’s adulterous relations. She will continue to be the only, living testament to this painful, but real sin. As the story progresses, her high intellect and curiosity tend to make Hester worry about her finding out the reason why they are obviously being treated differently from everyone else in town. Pearl’s insistence upon uncovering for herself and ultimately to all of the townspeople the secret that has burdened her mother as well as their minister, Dimmesdale, portrays the constant struggle between truth and innocence. Like critic, Anne Marie McNamara states, “Pearl is part of the ‘electric chain’ formed as she, Dimmesdale, and Hester join hands in the darkness and stand on the pillory as a family for the first time,” Pearl is the missing link between Hester and Dimmesdale in that their relationship lacked innocence and doubly posing as the figure of truth in that she is a constant reminder of their unfaithful actions. Her ability to keep secrets from her parents as they are doing to her is ironic and essential as her “preternatural” knowledge causes them gain greater understanding about themselves, others, and provides them with the opportunity for freedom and growth.
     She is as critic, Anne McNamara states, “a spirit child,” as she is able to convey messages of the utmost importance and honesty, yet is able to retain a pure state as a child. McNamara’s aruement is centered around the idea that Dimmesdale’s ultimate decision to publicly confess his sin was generated, at least in part, by his daughter’s rejections of him and statements, meant for her mother, but also indirectly affecting him. It is with this in mind that makes her claim that the forest meeting of Hester, Dimmesdale, and Pearl, is the most crucial scene for it is here that Dimmesdale is faced with the harsh reality which Pearl radiates through her actions and bold convictions. McNamara suggests that it is because of “Pearl in her ‘otherworldly aspect,’” that he is finally pushed to reveal his true identity.
     Like McNamara concluded, the encounters of these three related characters in the forest is vital as it is here, in overtly objecting to her mother’s removal of the letter from her chest, Pearl consciously proclaims that whatever the “A” stands for must not be forgotten, not even for a few minutes. Such an action, prolonged, would be similar to wishing that Pearl did not exist. "'I am my mother's child,' answered the scarlet vision, 'and my name is Pearl!'" As she...

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