Pearls of Wisdom: the Unusual Pearl of Hester Prynne
Pearl is described as a perfect specimen of a child: her liveliness, coordination, and ideal shape make her “worthy to have been brought forth in Eden” (59). Pearl captivates the eyes of spectators with her pale radiance, and embodies the innocence of a “peasant-baby” along with the regality of a princess. She has a tempestuous and unpredictable temper, and seems to be imbued with gloom. Even as an infant, Pearl possesses a “peculiar look...so intelligent, yet inexplicable, perverse, sometimes so malicious…that Hester could not help questioning at such moments whether Pearl was a human child” (61). Pearl acts differently than any child of her age and defies normality; at times, she appears to hover as lightly as a wisp, almost inexplicably disappearing. Her surreal aura and elvish laughter cause her to seem distant from the mortal world. Pearl’s advancement is rapid and unusual; she gains conversational skills before the other children her age. She does not fit in, however, as she is branded as an “emblem and product of sin” (62). When the other children approach her, she falls into a rage and babbles incoherent language that sounds analogous to the words of a witch. A characteristic that sets Pearl apart is her wild imagination. She saw objects like trees and weeds as members of the Puritan community, and she attacked the weeds, which she imagined were children, with ferocity. Her angry disposition and intellect far exceed her years, supporting the idea that Pearl is not an average human, or even completely human at all. When Hester is overcome with grief and cries out in anguish for her child, Pearl usually gives her a “sprite-like smile” and continues with her introverted doings. Her behavior contradicts normal reactions and is eerily detached from reality. The first thing Pearl noticed after her birth was the scarlet letter on her mother’s chest. Rather than bubbling about and enjoying...
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