Civil Rights Movements and Their Effect on Post-Modern Thought

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Brandon H.
12.17.2012
C.A. Rough

Pearl

In “The Scarlet Letter”, Nathanial Hawthorne masterfully weaves symbolism into his plot. The smaller implied themes of the story add an element to “The Scarlet Letter” that is lacking in many books, modern and classic. Pearl, being the daughter of one of the main characters, is portrayed in two ways, just like many of the other characters in the story. In Hawthorne’s tale of the scarlet letter, Pearl Prynne is represented as both a symbol as well as a main character in the story.

First, Pearl is most commonly seen as a character. Although this may seem like an obvious point, it is an important one when contrasting her different meanings in the story. Many of her characteristics translate into symbols, so look at some of the character traits of Pearl. She is a spunky girl, "There was a fire in her…” (p. 93), and almost seemed surreal in the way she conducted herself "… she seemed the unpremeditated offshoot of a passionate moment," (pg. 93). These things make Pearl somewhat mysterious throughout the story, and Hawthorne keeps her this way. Even at the end of the story, it is not told where Pearl goes, and it is only suggested that she gets married and has kids. This is another thing that separates Hawthorne from the typical writer. He holds back much from the reader, engrossing them in wanting to know what will become of certain characters and circumstances, but he never truly gives away the answer. This allows the reader to use their imagination, and makes for a very interesting story line. Pearl is seen as one of these characters, who can never fully be described, and is left to the interpretation of the reader.

One of the most important aspects of Pearl’s character, if not the most important, is where she came from. She was the offspring of a sin, and an obvious condemnation of it. Her mother is known all through the book to both the reader, and characters in the book, and Pearl receives many attributes...
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