Is Pearl a Child, a Guide, or a Monster in Nathaniel Hawthorne's, The Scarlet Letter

Topics: Puritan, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne Pages: 4 (1523 words) Published: November 15, 2008
Is Pearl a child, a guide, or a monster ?

Pearl is the only child among the main characters of the book, and she doesn't really influence the plot. Nevertheless, she is not less important than the other characters. If we assume that the characters of the fiction are meant to make the reader think, Pearl is meant to make the characters of the story think. Even her mother wonders who she is: " O Father in Heaven,- if Thou art still my Father,- what is this being which I have brought into the world! " (p119). Following the example of hester, let's think about it. Is pearl a child, a guide, or a monster? But can we describe her as only one of those three characters? Maybe the right question is : For whom is she a child, a guide, or a monster?

We assume that Pearl is a complex character, and that her curious mind can be interpreted differently depending of the personn looking at her. First, we will look at the relationship between the child and her mother. Then, we will think of the place of such a child in a puritan community. Finally, we will question the position of a modern reader.

Pearl is the alive symbol of Hester's sin. We guess that the fault has been revealed by the obvious pregnancy of Hester a few month after her nights with Dimmesdale. But even after her birth, everything is done to assimilate Pearl to her mother's sin. She's dressed in the same red as the letter that symbolize the infamy, and with the same luxury : " Her mother [...]had bought the richest tissues that could be procured, and allowed her imaginative faculty its full play in the arrangement and decoration of the dresses which the child wore, before the public eye. " (p.114). The art of her mother is used to exhaust her beauty with gorgious clothes that dress her as a doll. It seems that Hester sins by pride, as well as by lust. She's a reflect of her mother as a child. She symbolizes the growing rebellion of Hester against the rules of te puritan society. But Hester is not really...
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