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"The Scarlet Letter" By Nathaniel Hawthorne.

999 words - 4 pages

A Lonesome Island in the Treacherous SeaInto the unforgiving world of the Puritan society was born an innocent child. However, something set her apart from the other children; she was the result of a terrible sin, adultery. Since her birth, Pearl is shunned as an outcast of society. She is tangled in a web of lies and secrets, while all she wants to know is the truth about her identity. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Pearl, born into the harsh Puritan Society, symbolizes wisdom and curiosity, while at the same time she is the link between some of the main characters.The Puritan society has a very strict set of rules and morals. Anyone who dared to commit a crime or break the law was immediately made an example of by either being executed, publicly humiliated, or put in jail, as supported by the following:The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison. (45)The Puritans believed that adultery was a very serious sin. If a person committed adultery, their punishment would be to live on the outskirts of the city, and wear the scarlet letter "A" symbolizing adultery. This letter had an extremely bad connotation as shown by one of the old dames of the city:It were well, muttered the most iron-visaged of the old dames, if we stripped Madam Hester's rich gown off her dainty shoulders; and as for the red letter, which she hath stitched so curiously, I'll bestow a rag of mine own rheumatic flannel, to make a fitter one! (52)Hester is convicted of this sin, and therefore given the above punishment. Hester and Pearl are constantly taunted by the townspeople. "...That innocent child whose innocent life had sprung, by the inscrutable decree of Providence, a lovely and immortal flower..." (85) Would have to put up with gossip such as "...Pearl, as already hinted, was of demon origin..." (96) It is difficult to live in such a society where you are judged for what you do; a society that gives Pearl the image of the unacceptable child even before she is born.Pearl is also very curious and wise. She seems to know and understand things that an average child her age could not possibly fathom: "How strange it seemed to the sad woman as she watched the growth ... and intelligence that threw its quivering sunshine over the tiny features of the child." (85) Pearl has intuitions about people that were very accurate and precise, and it is almost as if her brain is tuned to a more intuitive channel: "...and Pearl ... aware through some more subtle channel...." (92) She made the connection between her mother's scarlet letter to Reverend Dimesdale holding his hand over his heart. She had the power to read and understand a person just by being around...

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