Symbolism signafications of Pearl in The Scarlet Letter

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Pearl is one of the most complex and misunderstood symbols in the book,

the daughter of Hester Prynne. Pearl, throughout the story, develops into

a dynamic symbol - one that is always changing. Pearl was a source of many

different kinds of symbolism. From being a living scarlet letter, to a

valuable thing with high price, then to the moral in this novel. She was

a kind of burden, yet love for Hester.

The most significant symbolic meaning of Pearl in the novel is her association

with the scarlet letter "A". When Hester stood fully revealed before the

crowd, it is her first impulse to clasp Pearl closely to her bosom; "not

so much by an impulse of motherly affection, as that she might thereby

conceal a certain token, which was wrought or fastened into her dress."

"In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would

but poorly serve to hide another, she took the baby on her arm..."

Hester embroidered the scarlet letter with gold thread fantastically, and

she had allowed the gorgeous tendencies of her imagination their full playing

contriving Pearl's garb. "and, indeed, of the child's whole appearance,

that it irresistibly reminded the beholder of the token which Hester Prynne

was doomed to wear upon her bosom." Pearl really was the scarlet

letter, the scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed

with life.

Pearl is a girl of rich and luxuriant beauty. "There was fire in her

and throughout her, she seemed the unpremeditated offshoot of a passionate

moment." The Bible says," the kingdom of heaven is like merchant in

search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and

sold all that he had and bought it." Hester named the infant

"pearl", as being of great price,--- purchased with all she had,--- her

only treasure! if Pearl had never been born, Hester would have never been

found guilty of adultery, and thus never would have had to wear that burden

upon her chest. Without that burden, Hester would have led a much better

life than the one she had throughout the novel. Although Hester has so

much trouble with Pearl, she still feels that Pearl is her treasure. Pearl

is really the only thing that Hester has in her life. Once and a while,

Pearl will bring joy to Hester's life, and that helps her to keep on living.

If Pearl isn't in Hester's life, Hester will almost surely have committed

suicide. This can be proved in Chapter 8, The Elf-child and the Minister.

After Hester gets the permission to still keep Pearl at her side, Mistress

Hibbins invites her to go to the forest to meet the Black Man together

with her. But Hester refuses and says, with a triumphant smile," I must

tarry at home, and keep watch over my little Pearl. Had they taken her

from me, I would willingly have gone with thee into the forest, and signed

my name in the Black Man's book too, and that with mine own blood!"

It is Pearl that saves Hester from Satan's snare.

Pearl also serves as moral in this novel, The moral she is meant to

teach is that Hester and Dimmesdale should fully commits their sin and

then take responsibility for their sin. The first thing Pearl see in her

infancy is the scarlet letter on her mother's bosom. As a baby, she even

reaches up and touches the letter, causing her mother intense agony at

the shame it generated in her. Later, she plays a game when she throws

flowers at her mother and jumps around in glee every time, she hits the

scarlet letter. She also makes her own letter "A" to wear. When she finds

Hester removes the scarlet letter from her chest in the forest, Pearl starts

screaming and convulsing and refuses to cross the stream until Hester reattaches

the letter. She is really a constant mental and physical reminder to Hester

of what she has done wrong. With Pearl at her side, Hester will never escape

the punishment of her wrong...
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