Pearl: More Symbolic Than Characteristic

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Throughout Daniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter the keystone character, little Pearl, was actually not as much a character but a symbol to her mother and all of those around her. Pearl ties together the novel and without an in-depth analysis of Hawthorne’s story her true importance would never had been revealed. Her true importance lies with the fact that she is truly a symbol, what she symbolizes (such as the sin that created the Scarlet letter and made her a living symbol of it, Hester’s inner turmoil, and the truth,) and how she finally becomes fully human. From the beginning of the novel Pearl’s wild and outlandish behavior has been very prevalent, and is the opposite of the Puritan’s ideal child and it was said that Pearl “could not be made amenable to rules” (Hawthorne, 83.) Since Pearl was conceived by Hester and Dimmesdale’s sin she was not born with the innocence that children are normally born with, which gave her an insight of the world around her and a maturity far beyond her years. Her own mother, Hester Prynne, questioned her child’s humanity, often seeing Pearl as more of a “little elf” (Hawthorne, 89) than her own child that she had given life to. Pearl never seemed to possess the attributes that a child her age should have, rarely showing compassion except when she took Dimmesdale’s “hand in the grasp of her own (and) laid her cheek against it” (Hawthorne, 106) when he had defended Hester’s right to keep Pearl. Around strangers or in the privacy of her own home she sometimes becomes simply an “unpremeditated offshoot of a passionate moment” (Hawthorne, 93,) but we know that Pearl is much more than just that. She is a symbol, an important aspect that, if Hester didn’t have, turmoil would have ensued. Pearl’s entire existence is through an act of sin, so by default she would be a constant reminder and symbol of it. Just as the sin
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