In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne displays many examples of love and hatred throughout the story. Though Hawthorne shows that love and hatred both have the potential to harm, hatred has a greater tendency to cause pain. This is clearly seen in Hester’s love for Pearl and Chillingworth’s hatred for Dimmesdale.
Pearl is not the easiest child to love, but the attributes Hester has attained over the years have allowed her to show motherly love regardless. One aspect of Hester’s love is her patience. Pearl is constantly asking Hester questions about her scarlet letter, and instead of Hester getting mad she assures Pearl that everything is okay, and not to worry. Another aspect of Hester’s love is her comforting and reassuring attitude towards Pearl. When Dimmesdale refuses to stand publicly with Pearl and her mother, Hester tells Pearl, “Not now, dear child… but in days to come… thou shall sit upon his knee; and he will teach thee many things, and love thee dearly” (pg 191). Hester consoles Pearl and tells her that some day soon they will be together as a family. Another aspect of Hester’s love is seen when she fights to keep Pearl. She argues with the governor saying, “God gave me the child… He gave her, in requital of all things else, which ye had taken from me. She is my happiness!” (pg 52). Hester also has a desire for Pearl to have a better life than hers. When Pearl asks her mother about the scarlet letter and whether or not she will acquire one when she’s older. Hester answers her by saying, “Nor ever will, my child, I hope” (pg 168).
Even though Hester loves Pearl so much, by being Pearl’s mother she is causing herself emotional and mental pain. Hester sacrifices her beauty in order to keep Pearl happy. When Hester removes the scarlet letter and takes her hair down, Pearl throws a tantrum and won’t stop until Hester puts her hair back up and reattaches the letter. Hester felt a since of relief from her sin as soon as she took off the...
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