The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

939 words - 4 pages

Not very many children are born in prison, nor do many live in prison for the first three months of their lives. It was almost probable that the child might turn out rather eccentric, which Pearl, in a way, did. And it is definitely strange that she was born as a result of a sin. Thus, her mother named her Pearl, “as being of great price, —purchased with all she had, —her mother’s only treasure!” She has very capricious emotions and is impish sometimes. Pearl is an eerily intelligent and devilish child who has a strange connection with the scarlet “A”.
Pearl has a childish innocence that leads her to asking Dimmesdale and Hester several questions, which raise the inquiry of the actual meanings of the questions. Pearl asks, “Wilt thou stand here with mother and me, to-morrow noontide?” (Hawthorne 139). It has a huge significance to it because Pearl is in a sense asking the minister if Dimmesdale will confess his sin to the town on the scaffolding the next day at noon. If he does not, Pearl is not willing to accept him. Pearl also asks her mother what the letter “A” means out of curiosity, and also why the minister always keeps his hand over his heart. Of course, her mother is not willing to answer and cleverly dodges the question by telling Pearl that she was asking silly questions. When Hester and Pearl walk past Chillingworth and Dimmesdale’s home, Pearl sees the men and points at Chillingworth. She says to her mother, “Come away mother! Come away, or yonder old Black Man will catch you! He hath got hold of the minister already! Come away, mother, or he will catch you!” (Hawthorne 122). Pearl sees Chillingworth, and somehow sees the evil within him. She sees that his evil has already captured Dimmesdale. Pearl seems to have clairvoyant ability, asking eerie questions and pointing out ideas that sometimes startle adults.
Pearl often acts differently from other children which makes the townspeople think that she is a devil child. She does not mix well with other children. They know that somehow, Pearl and her mother do not fit into society—they are outcasts are seldom acknowledged in a positive manner. When the children tease her, she becomes a frightening, angry storm. And she would scream at the children in an unknown language, which scared Hester. “ . . . Pearl would grow positively terrible in her puny wrath, snatching up stones to fling at them, with shrill, incoherent exclamations, that made her mother tremble because they had so much the sound of a witch’s anathemas in some unknown tongue.” (Hawthorne 86). When Pearl threw the wildflowers at her mother, Hester looked “sadly into little Pearl’s wild eyes” (Hawthorne 89). At the brook, Dimmesdale kisses...

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