Character Analysis of Pearl in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Pages: 3 (983 words) Published: May 16, 2013
Robert Scible
English – H


During her first three years, Pearl, who is named because she came "of great price,"(81) grows into a physically beautiful, vigorous, and graceful little girl. She is radiant in the rich and elaborate dresses that Hester sews for her. Inwardly, however, Pearl possesses a complex character. She shows an unusual depth of mind, coupled with a fiery passion that Hester is incapable of controlling either with kindness or threats. Pearl shows a love of mischief and a disrespect for authority, which frequently reminds Hester of her own sin of passion. This personality described to the reader as, “a lovely and immortal flower out of the rank luxurious of a guilty passion,” (81) shows both the dark and lights sides to Pearl’s personality. An example of Pearl’s dark side can be seen when walking with Hester. When Pearl is on walks with her mother, she occasionally finds herself surrounded by the curious children of the village. Rather than attempt to make friends with them, she pelts them with stones and violent words. Not only is she out casted for her mother’s actions, but she seems to separate herself from society as well. Pearl’s only ally is her mind, which seems to have a firm grasp on the situation and the world around her, after only 3 years. This chapter develops Pearl both as a character and as a symbol. Pearl is a mischievous and almost unworldly child, whose uncontrollable nature reflects the sinful passion that led to her birth. Pearl's character is closely tied to her birth, which justifies and makes the unusualness about her very important. Hawthorne states, "[Pearl] was worthy to have been brought forth in Eden; worthy to have been left there, to be the plaything of the angels,"(83) However, she "lacked reference and adaptation to the world into which she was born."(84) Pearl’s nature is questioned by the puritanical views from within the society that she lives. Pearl is a product of pre-marital sex, and...
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