Pearl as a Hero in the Scarlet Letter

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Caroline Cory 12/2/12 AP English Scarlet Letter In Nathanial Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter, we do not see the characters to be heroes at first glance. In fact, the dark mood set by Hawthorne in the story makes many of the characters seem dark and troubled. However, with further examination of the story we are able to see true heroes emerge. Pearl is an important character in the symbolism of the story. Pearl is a sort of living version of her mother’s scarlet letter. Like the letter, she is something that stands out in society by being an uncommon child. Yet, even as a reminder of Hester’s sin, Pearl is more than a mere punishment to her mother: she is also a blessing. She represents not only sin, but also the vital spirit of that sin. Thus, Pearl’s existence gives her mother reason to live, bolstering her spirits when she is tempted to give up; acting as a hero who constantly saves her mother from the tortures of Puritan society. However, Pearl also acts as a constant remaindered to her mother of her inescapable sin, and therefore can also be seen as a non-heroic character. Throughout the novel Pearl constantly defends her mother when people of their community are threatening her. When Hester and Pearl are attacked by a group of children, who try to fling mud at them Pearl becomes angry. She frightens the children off and she throws rocks at them. “ She resembled, in her fierce pursuit of them, an infant pestilence—the scarlet fever, or some such half-fledged angle of judgment—whose mission was to punish the sins of the rising generation…The victory accomplished, Pearl returned quietly to her mother, and looked up, smiling, into her face.”(chpt. 7) Pearl doesn't know why the children are making fun of her and her mother. However, her immense love for her mother leads her to turn into this fierce character in order to protect
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