The Scarlet Letter: Pearls Impact on Main Themes

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Pearls Impact on the Main Themes
In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Pearl is a bastard child living in Boston during the 1600’s. Although she is the youngest character, she is arguably the most important because she emphasizes the main points in the story indirectly through her observations and questions. Two of the main points are that the scarlet letter represents sin and that sin is an inevitable part of life.

Throughout most of the book, all the townspeople and even her own daughter, Pearl, associates the scarlet letter as a symbol of adultery, which is a sin. During their walk in the forest, Pearl makes several comments that reveal her opinions on the impact of the scarlet letter in her mother’s life. Firstly, she points out that “the sunshine does not love” her mother and when it sees her, the sunshine “runs and hides itself” due to the fact that “it is afraid of something on [her] bosom” (Hawthorne 220). In this context, the sunshine refers to the innocence and the pureness of oneself which is the opposite of the scarlet letter, which represents sin. Because Hester committed adultery and is forced to wear the scarlet letter, the sunshine does not shine upon her because she is neither pure nor innocent. Additionally, the sunshine is also a representation of the community, because they too tend to ostracize her for the same exact reason. Since the sunshine and the scarlet letter are two polar opposites, they tend to avoid each other. In contrast, Pearl realizes that she is “a child” and since she does not “wear [anything] on [her] bosom”, then the sunshine will not flee from her (Hawthorne 221). Pearl indirectly makes the connection that the scarlet letter is a negative symbol, due to the fact that sunshine tries to avoid her mother, who wears it all the time. Conversely, due to the fact that she is a child and does not bear the sinful meaning of the scarlet letter on her bosom, the sunshine welcomes her under its rays. Even from...
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