Pearl symbolizes evil in the story by representing God's punishment of Hester's sin, symbolizing the guilt and the scarlet letter that controls her behavior and defying Puritan laws by being cheerful and associating with nature. Pearl is a greater punishment then Hester’s “A”. First, Pearl represents God's punishment by her mocking and nagging of Hester. This is shown throughout the novel she sometimes seemed to her mother as almost a witch baby (Hawthorne 88).Second, Pearl is a baffling mixture of strong emotions with a fierce temper and a capacity for evil; with Pearl, Hester's life became one of constant nagging, and no joy. This is proven when Hester remarks to herself, "Oh Father in heaven - if thou art still my father - what is this being which I have brought into the world" (Hawthorne 89).Thirdly, Pearl represents the sins of both Hester and Dimmesdale.
Because she lived in such a God driven and puritan town, the judicial system of the settlement had decided for her to acknowledge her sin by embroidering a vibrant scarlet letter “A” onto her dress to symbolize adultery. She was often ostracized from the rest of the town since she was forced to wear the crimson “A” everywhere she went. As well as the letter to remind her of the wrong she had done, the affair had left her with a fatherless daughter named Pearl. Later in the novel we discover the father is the Reverend of the town, the admirable Arthur Dimmesdale. Through pain, remorse and agony the novel reveals that it is better to tell a harmless lie then to confess a hurtful truth.
Hester is a very realistic character as she goes through and experiences the same difficulties that people go through in their lives. Roger Chillingworth is the antagonist and the most evolved character in The Scarlet Letter. Chillingworth represents evil in Hawthorne’s novel. He changes from a man in disguise trying to figure out the man who did both him and his wife (Hester) wrong, into a twisted, deformed man. He tells Hester that he plans to become a “man who devotes himself earnestly and unreservedly to the solution of a mystery”(70).
The dramatic story really attracts readers’ attention, and what’s more, the meaningful themes of this outstanding work laid the foundation of its unique significance. The first theme I would like to discuss about is the sin of the three main characters, which is prevailingly illustrated in the novel. At the very beginning the sin is Hester’s adultery: a very serious breach of Puritan morality. Then it had its forms of Dimmesdale’s disguise and Chillingworth’s revenge. I have no beliefs in Christian, so Hester only appears to me as a woman who pursues her liberty and protects her true love.
She is a girl who was born with special symbolic significance and meaning. She was clasped closely to her mother’s bosom with that letter A. Maybe in the adjudicators’ mind, the infant is a symbol of shame and evil, but to Hester, Pearl is her new life and she is also the link between Hester and Dimmesdale. Pearl makes us constantly aware of her mother’s scarlet letter. Pearl was a sort of living symbol of her mother’s scarlet letter.
Hester’s pain at her alienation is apparent in the devotion she holds towards her daughter Pearl, her (and Pearl’s) only company. “But she named the infant ‘Pearl’, as being of great price – purchased with all she had – her mother’s only treasure!” (Hawthorne 83). Their relationship is a tenuous one, but Hester’s maternal bond to her daughter helps her cope with alienation. Through Pearl, Hester learns some measure of empathy again and finds comfort in the fact that someone will accept her for who she is. Pearl does exactly that and more; she intuits the “inner sinfulness” that Hester holds in her heart and displays on her breast, and accepts Hester.
The Scarlet Letter: The Dangers of Hypocrisy In Matthew 23:13 Jesus cries out, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces.” Shortly after that, Jesus says, “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” Since hypocrisy can be found in each and every person in some form or another, scores of authors have used their stories to illustrate the dangers of hypocrisy. Nathaniel Hawthorne chose to display this moral in one of his most famous works. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne works through his characters to reveal the perilous dangers of hypocrisy. Hawthorne displays the hypocrisy in his characters through the first scaffold scene.
One of the Puritan ladies in the crowd suggests that Hestor has “brought shame upon us all, and ought to die. Is there no law for it? Truly there is, both in scripture and statute book.” The Puritans wish further torture on Hestor, even though they themselves too have committed similar crimes. But in looking for a reason to bring more harm to Hestor, they break a commandment worse than Hestor’s; using the Lord’s name in vain. Just for their own satisfaction they look to manipulate the writings of their
The perhaps most critical theme in ‘The Crucible’ is the role that hysteria can play in tearing apart a community. Hysteria replaces logic and enables people to believe that their neighbors, whom they have always considered upstanding people, are committing absurd and unbelievable crimes—communing with the devil, killing babies, and so on. In ‘The Crucible’, the townsfolk accept and become active in the hysterical climate not only out of genuine religious faithfulness but also because it gives them a chance to express repressed sentiments and to act on long-held grudges. The most obvious case is Abigail, who uses the situation to accuse Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft and have her sent to jail. But others thrive on the hysteria as well: Reverend Parris strengthens his position within the village, albeit temporarily, by making scapegoats of people like Proctor who question his authority.
Maya Stephenson Chapter 5 “Thus the young and pure would be taught to look at her, with the scarlet letter flaming on her breast,—at her, the child of honorable parents,—at her, the mother of a babe, that would hereafter be a woman, —at her, who had once been innocent, —as the figure, the body, the reality of sin.”(54) Most people think that sin is an abstract concept. But this quote shows that in the Puritan community sin is very real. It also says that every town needs a scapegoat and Hester is the scape goat for her community. The people focus their attention on Hester’s problems instead of working out their issues. The townspeople look at Hester and think about how she used to be pure before she committed her sin.