Pearl as an Allegorical Character

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Like many other short stories and novels by Nathaniel Hawthorne, in The Scarlet Letter, he uses the character of Pearl to pertain to a deeper allegorical meaning. The Puritan society does not condemned the fact that Hester has committed the sin of adultery, therefore making her an out cast by forcing her to wear a scarlet letter ‘A’ across her chest. Hawthorne uses Pearl, Hester’s daughter, to represent Hester’s sin of adultery. Pearl’s name, also possesses several meaning on a symbolic level. Additionally, Pearl has a very high intelligence level and a very distinctive personality for an infant, making one believe Pearl is an allegorical symbol rather than a real human being. On account of the definition of an allegorical character; in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Pearl’s abstract ideas and personifications emphasize her roll as a symbol throughout the novel, thus making her character more of an allegorical symbol than a real human being. The product of Hester’s sin and agony, Pearl is a painful constant reminder of her mother’s violation of the Seventh Commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery. Hester feels that Pearl was given to her not only as a blessing but a punishment worse than death or ignominy. Hawthorne states, “We have as yet hardly spoken of the infant; that little creature, whose innocent life had sprung, by the inscrutable decree of Providence, a lovely and immortal flower, out of the rank luxuriance of a guilty passion” (81). Hawthorne is using a metaphor to show how Pearl’s birth resulted from her mother’s foul act. Hester lives in fear that Pearl will “detect some dark and wild peculiarity, that could restore to the guiltiness to which she owed her being” (86). Since Hester believes that the act she committed was sinful, she believes the result of her act will also be sinful; regardless if the result is her daughter. Therefore, Hawthorne uses Pearl as an allegorical character more than a real person. Hester Prynne’s name...
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