Scarlett Letter Essay

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Pearl as a Symbol and Function In the novel The Scarlet Letter, the author Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism all throughout the story in many of the characters and events. One of the most complex symbols is the character, Pearl Prynne. Pearl, the daughter of Hester,develops into a dynamic symbol that is always changing. In The Scarlet Letter Pearl is an ambiguous character that is much more important as a symbol and function than as a character. Adultery was a very big deal in Puritan society at the time in which Hester lived. People guilty of this sin were often sentenced to death, but in the novel Hester did not receive this sentence, instead she had to keep her scarlet letter and suffer the consequences that came from her sin. Hawthorne uses Pearl as an embodiment of the scarlet letter in flesh, and both are repercussions that remind Hester of what she did. Hester uses both Pearl and the scarlet letter as an earthly redemption of her sin, as God’s punishment for her. Many people in Hester’s community saw her punishment as no punishment at all. But Hester suffered a long and lonely life in the end. The scarlet letter and Pearl isolated Hester from everyone else. Hawthorne said the scarlet letter “had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself” (51). In “Pearl 1850-1955”, the author Barbara Garlitz claims Pearl is the cause of isolation of her mother to society and a happy ending, “In the past five years Pearl has been found a symbol of both ‘unnatural isolation’ from society, a symbol of both the id and of ‘man’s hopeful future’”(689). When the first scaffold scene is over, Hester finds an isolated cottage that is quite far from the town and lives alone with Pearl. Up until the end of the book, Hester remained alone, only keeping the company of Pearl and the scarlet

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