Essay about The Scarlet Letter and Character Pearl

Submitted By thenomad04
Words: 946
Pages: 4

Skylar Levens-Thompson Thompson 1
AP English 11-Period 5
Ms. Dooley
Sept 24, 2014
4. What do you make of Hawthorne’s character Pearl? Although she at first appears to be a secondary character in the novel, Pearl figures significantly into many of the novel’s key narrative events. How do Pearl’s actions represent her distinct identity? What is Pearl’s significance in the novel as a whole (and do not forget to consider what happens to Pearl at the conclusion of the narrative)? Hawthorne’s character Pearl is very unique; Pearl has ideals that people now in modern-day share. She has a strong sense of righteousness when it comes to anything related to her mother. Pearl’s actions represent her distinct identity by her unusual behavior around her mother, nature, and her perception of the scarlet letter. Pearl’s significance in the novel, The Scarlet Letter, is both the consequence and the solution to the sin of adultery that her mother, Hester Prynne, and as we find out, her father, Minister Dimmesdale committed. Her significance changes completely during the novel, but her role also changed the importance of the other characters like her mother. Pearl has the same behavioral reactions that children nowadays have, meaning she is straight-forward and honest about her thoughts and beliefs. Though her mother tries to teach her daughter that her “normal” behavior is not actually normal in their Puritan society, Pearl continues to believe that the scarlet letter on her mother’s bosom is nothing to be embarrassed about and that the way the village children pick on her mother is upsetting. Her reaction to the
Thompson 2 village children picking on her mother was often to “…[snatch] up stones to fling at them, [and]…shrill, incoherent exclamations that made her mother tremble, because they [her shrilling] had so much the sound of a witch’s anathemas in some unknown tongue” (Hawthorne, 64). And because of Pearl’s unique mindset and her mother’s status in the village, she was, in a way, out-casted from interacting with the other children in the village. The village children differ very distinctly from Pearl simply because her actions seem blessed by God; there was always sunlight shown upon Pearl, whether she, be with just herself and her mother or when she’s out around the other villagers. This leads us to her significance throughout the novel. Pearl’s significance had a major turnabout because in the beginning of the novel, Pearl is seen as the product of a sin, but as the story progresses, Pearl becomes the daily torture of the sin her mother made and in the end, Pearl evidently was also the release of that sin. On page 77 of The Scarlet Letter, Hester declares to the old Governor that “…She [Pearl] is her happiness!- [and that] she is my [Hester’s] torture, none the less!” Her significance affected the importance of other characters, too. Her role influenced Minister Dimmesdale’s character by her curiosity and Dimmesdale’s sudden guilt for not taking responsibility of Hester and Pearl as he took part in the sin that led to all Hester’s grief and pain. As Pearl’s significance grew, Dimmesdale’s guilt ate away at him and he became more and more involved with Hester and Pearl. In turn, Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s husband, began enacting his revenge upon Dimmesdale. Though Chillingworth’s plan for revenge on Dimmesdale was unsuccessful, he also was affected by the growth of Pearl’s character significance. Pearl’s character brought together her mother, Hester, and her father, Minister Dimmesdale, which brought them to lean upon each other for strength to