Analysis of Pearl in Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter"

Topics: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne Pages: 4 (1272 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Analysis of Pearl in Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter"

One of the most significant writers of the romantic period in American literature was Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne wrote stories that opposed the ideas of Transcendentalism. Since he had ancestors of Puritan belief, Hawthorne wrote many stories about Puritan New England. His most famous story is the Scarlet Letter. This novel tells of the punishment of a woman, Hester Prynne, who committed adultery and gave birth to Pearl. A minister of Boston, Arthur Dimmesdale, had an affair with Hester while believing that her husband, Roger Chillingworth, had died. However, Chillingworth did not die and appears during the early stages of Hester's punishment.

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the character of Pearl in the Scarlet Letter. Her whole life had many difficulties while living in Puritan New England. Furthermore, Pearl displays much parallelism to the scarlet letter that Hester must wear. Finally, Pearl's birth intensified the conflicts in the novel. Clearly, Pearl becomes the symbol of all the other major characters' tragedies.


The character of Pearl in the Scarlet Letter lived a very difficult life. Before the novel begins, Hester Prynne gives birth to Pearl after having an affair with Arthur Dimmesdale, a Puritan minister. Pearl's birth proves that Hester cheated on her husband Roger Chillingworth provoking the stories action. The novel opens with the people of Boston staring and laughing at Hester holding Pearl while standing on the town's scaffold. At this time, Pearl is three months old. Years later Hester gets released from jail and lives with Pearl in the outskirts of town. Since Hester becomes alienated from Boston, Pearl turns into "her mother's only treasure!" (Hawthorne 76). Hester makes bright red clothes for Pearl that parallel the scarlet "A." At age three, Pearl endures many laughs and jokes from other Puritan...
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