The Scarlet Letter (Little Pearl's Role In The Story And How Unrealistic Hawthorne Made Her)

1115 words - 4 pages

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel HawthorneLittle Pearl was the daughter and embodied guilt of Hester Prynne, a European woman who moved to puritan New England. Hester Prynne had committed adultery. The townspeople punished her by making her wear the scarlet letter A, which stood for adultery. They cut her off from their little world. Pearl was the only good thing in Hester's secluded world. But by secluding Hester, the townspeople inevitably secluded her daughter as well.Pearl grew up alone; she had no kids to play with. She only had her vivid imagination and her mother as playmates. Little Pearl seemed to constantly torment her mother simply by her presence and more so by her actions. Pearl was a mischievous little girl, very curious as well. Even as a baby, she would point to Hester's scarlet letter and laugh, tormenting her mother. Hawthorne even says that the first thing that the baby Pearl noticed, in her life, was the scarlet letter. Throughout the book, there are many examples of Pearl's torture. For example, one day, in a rare mood of tenderness, Pearl kissed her mother's brow and both cheeks, and then she was "impelled" to kiss the scarlet letter as well. Thus, perturbing her mother.The three-year-old tormented her mother by saying that she had no heavenly father when she was told that her heavenly father sent her. At the governor's house, even when Mr. Wilson asked the child who had made her, she replies by saying she "had not been made at all, but had been plucked off the bush of wild roses that grew by the prison door." Soon after, Hester's minister, Mr. Dimmesdale spoke up on behalf of the child and her mother. If he had not, Hester would have lost custody of her child. Little Pearl, described as a "wild and flighty little elf," showed a gentle loving gesture towards Mr. Dimmesdale. This was something that she did not do often. In the scene at the governor's house, Hawthorne makes it seem as though the three-year-old actually understood that Mr. Dimmesdale had helped her and her mother. She seemed to realize this, even though earlier, she didn't realize the importance of the situation when Mr. Wilson asked her the question.As little Pearl grew older, she seemed to become even more curious and wiser. When playing along the water, while her mother was talking with Roger Chillingworth, little Pearl made an "A" for herself out of eelgrass. When her mother asked if she knew why her mother wore the letter, Pearl replied, "Truly I do! It is for the same reason that the minister keeps his hand over his heart!" But later the child asks, "but in good earnest now, mother dear, what does this scarlet letter mean? - and why dost thou wear it on thy bosom? - and why does the minister keep his hand over his heart?" Here, Hawthorne made a seven-year-old girl see a connection that the adults of the community couldn't have figured out, and then tried to make it slightly more realistic by having her curiosity of youth shine through with "innocent"...

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