Scarlett Letter

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Lorrie Meade LITR225 11/25/11 Final Research Paper “The Scarlett Letter” begins in a Puritan settlement in seventeenth century Boston, with a young lady named Hester Prynne. Led from the town prison with the scarlet letter on her breast and daughter, Pearl, in her arms. Pearl is a character that represents many symbols. Pearl is portrayed as quiet from the start but makes us aware of Hester’s passion, sin, and personifies her adulterous act. Given her symbolic purpose, at the end she becomes human, leaving in the past the representation of her mother and father. Pearl is not meant to be a sensible character. She possesses a sustaining beauty; one that is seen with a deep glow. Her complexion is bright like the sun’s rays and her hair is that of a rich, polished brown. From an early age, Pearl’s small figure is the radiance of her own elegance, “shining through the gorgeous which might have extinguished a paler loveliness (AL, p1400).” Pearl never lost her trait of passion. If she had grown fainter in any of her changes, she would have ceased to be herself. Pearl’s temperament appeared to obtain variety, as well as depth but lacked adaptation to the world that she was born into. She is described as determined, imaginative, and intelligent. “The flightiness of her temper” (AL, p1401) is recognizable by Hester, her mother; just like her desperate, wild, defiant mood is evident in her disposition. Meade Page 2 From beginning to end in the story she consumes the hidden emotions of her mother and amplifies them for all to see. Pearl is the heart of literary symbolism. At times she is a vehicle for Hawthorne to assert the inconsistent and luminous qualities of her mother’s improper bond, and at others a reminder of Hester’s sin; which makes Pearl the perfect supplement of the scarlet letter. Although she serves as an invaluable treasure

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