Blissful Ignorance In Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'The Scarlet Letter'

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The bible’s story of the Garden of Eden proposes an allegorical view of a human life that is generally accepted as accurate. The idea of blissful ignorance being followed a fall from that innocence, and then a rebirth into blissful knowledge is seen over and over in literature including A Separate Peace, Kite Runner, and even more modern books such as Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Even nonfiction books can reflect this allegory for the human life. To a small degree even biographies such as Three Cups of Tea reflect this theme. Rarely is the idea discussed that the fall from innocence may be a good thing. While it is accepted as necessary, people assume that it would be better if it didn’t happen. Nathanial Hawthorne breaks this stereotype of literature; instead he decided to show the great things that can come from the fall. The Scarlet Letter is an allegory of the fortunate fall, the idea that while sin is a reality it can be a source of wisdom and spiritual enlightenment.…show more content…
While her name is an obvious reference to the biblical story of a “Pearl of Great Worth,” in which a man gives up everything he owns for one single pearl, she plays an additional role in the life of Hester Prynne. Pearl, as a manifestation of Hester’s sin, serves as Hester’s teacher in the ideas of the fortunate fall. One time in the novel, Pearl points at Chillingworth and says, “Come away mother! Come away or yonder old Black Man will catch you! He hath got hold of the minister already. Come away Mother, or he will catch you (131)!” Though Hester has yet to realize the evil in Chillingworth Pearl is the first to guide her towards that conclusion. In an allegorical sense, this is the idea that once a person has lived through a great sin and come to understand it they wil be better able to recognize it in others and so avoid a second great fall. This wisdom gained from one great sin lets one avoid further

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