Hestor wants her child to be raised like the other Puritan children, but this can not happen since Hestor passes her feelings of Pearl as an object of her sin on to Pearl. Hestor’s guilt about how Pearl is conceived consumes her. Hestor forces her conflicts onto Pearl. Hestor feels that what she is doing is a sin, but she can not stop herself from her passions. Pearl, thus becomes a combination of wild rebelliousness mixed with some sadness and depression.
While both an obvious symbol of adultery and sin, the scarlet letter worn by Hester is also a recurrent symbol of public judgment in this Massachusetts town. Hester’s behavior is premised on her desire to determine her own identity rather than to allow others to determine it for her. Although a mark of shame as seen by the community, she utilizes the letter as a way of identifying herself and her past experiences. Both this and the mere presence of her illegitimate daughter Pearl are big parts of her character in the story; to pretend that they do not exist would mean denying the essence of who she is. The torment with which she is subjected to by the community is not enough to drive her away, only to send her into a subjective mindset in which she more intelligibly begins to assess the morality of those around her.
Whereas the Puritans translated such rituals into moral and repressive exercises, Hawthorne turns their interpretations around in The Scarlet Letter. The Puritan community sees Hester as a fallen woman, Dimmesdale as a saint, and would have seen the disguised Chillingworth as a victim — a husband betrayed. Instead, Hawthorne ultimately presents Hester as a woman who represents a sensitive human being with a heart and emotions; Dimmesdale as a minister who is not very saint-like in private but, instead, morally weak and unable to confess his hidden sin; and Chillingworth as a husband who is the worst possible offender of humanity and single-mindedly pursuing an evil goal. Hawthorne's embodiment of these characters is denied by the Puritan mentality: At the end of the novel, even
He epitomizes himself as a coward, frightened by the societies rejection; he follows cultural standards rather than abiding by his own. Orwell comprehends that he has contradicted his principles merely to avoid discernment from the natives. Correspondingly, In “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America,” Barbara Ehrenreich, masks her “real life” to pursue the life of ones financially less fortunate. Ehrenreich is a middle-class journalist who disguises herself with the intention to appear as a low-class woman to conduct an experiment; yet, the mask gradually begins to become her reality. Orwell illustrates his true identity by using internal oscillation illuminating his natural morals, but ignoring and substituting them for those of the arbitrating community, soon realizing he has become overpowered by his mask.
This is demonstrated in the text “Those who had before known her, and had expected to behold her dimmed and obscured by a disastrous cloud, were astonished, and even startled, to perceive how her beauty shone out, and made a halo of the misfortune and ignomity in which she was enveloped” (40). The letter might be a sign of sin to Hester and the Puritan village, but Pearl sees it as something else entirely. The scarlet letter is both a part and a connection to her mother, for they both are the physical manifestations of Hester’s wrongdoing. After Hester takes of the letter, Pearl refuses to come to her. She refuses to recognize her mother, only coming to her after the “A” has returned to her mother’s bosom.
Instead, she stays, seeing the scarlet letter as a symbol of her own fault and character. Her sin is a part of who she is; to act like it never happened would mean pushing away a part of herself. So, Hester very determinedly involves her sin in her life. Dimmesdale also fights against a socially determined identity. As the community’s priest, he is more of a symbol than a human being.
In other words, one who is innocent will have no meaning to hide oneself. Therefore, Hester suffers through exclusion from the Puritans; an example of a situational archetype. ** To symbolize Hester’s “sin”, the Puritans brand her with the scarlet letter, “A”, giving the book its title. Obviously, this “A” has a great importance to the novel, one being a
Dimmesdale’s sin was not adultery but not having the courage to admit that he had adulterated. But Pearl provided Dimmesdale the harshest text, and most penetrating judgment of his failure to admit to his adultery. He was painful in his heart and suffered from his conscience and his brief. Pearl was just
This idea can be seen through King Oedipus when it is revealed to Oedipus that he has married his biological mother. Even though he did not intentionally condone this action he feels as though he has betrayed the natural trust one would have with his own mother. Although there was a shift in trust resulting from this incest action, this is problematic in Oedipus’s case as neither characters intended on action to occur. Instead this moral lesson would portray the idea that fate is predetermined and can never be controlled. This can be compared to Hamlet when the distrust between Hamlet and his mother occurred intentionally.
The other faction sees her as self-righteous and hypocritical. They point out that she seems little concerned by her brother's crime but is too horrified of committing the same transgression herself--even to save her brother's life. She apparently suffers no qualms, however, in asking Mariana to share Angelo's bed. The reason for which she has been most strongly criticized is her seeming lack of sympathy for Claudio when he pleads with her to save him by giving in to Angelo's desire. She turns upon him violently, revolted by his weakness.