Contradictions of Pearl Prynne

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The Contradictions of Pearl Prynne In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, most characters are portrayed as part of something bigger. Every character is symbolic as Hawthorne, through narrative voice, emphasizes particular parts of their personalities in order to make a statement about the Puritan community. With Pearl specifically, he seems to be noting the contrast of the free nature of Pearl’s actions and her passive way of forcing Hester to moderate her ways to Puritan standards. The scarlet letter is a label that the Puritans have given Hester. It is their identification of her as their sinner that binds her to conform to their societal values. Pearl is the living version of the scarlet letter that traps Hester Prynne in Puritan society, and yet is ironically one of the most free-spirited and wild creatures, and the symbol of Hester’s passion in the novel. Unlike other children in the Puritan community, Pearl is free-spirited and cannot be governed by any laws, and instead seems to follow her own rules. When describing Pearl, the narrator notes that Hester is afraid of Pearl because “the child could not be made amenable to rules… the result was a being whose elements were perhaps beautiful and brilliant, but all in disorder; or with an order peculiar to themselves” (80). Because Pearl is a product of the passion of the adultery that the Puritan community does not accept, she does not follow by its rules and when she is born into the Puritan community she has to make her own laws to follow. This is shown more clearly in the contrast between the solemn, grave Puritan children who reflect the stern countenance of their parents and ostracize Pearl. She is dressed in bright, festive colors that show off her beauty and “fire” (90) while in comparison the other Puritan children are portrayed as drab and “somber” (91). While the children practice the lives
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