Pearl is a symbol of Hester’s transgressions and even has similar qualities as the sin which she represents. Pearl’s life and behavior directly reflects the unacceptable and abnormal nature of Hester’s adulterous sin. Hester is plagued with more than just a letter “A”; she is given a child from her affair who is just as much a reminder of her sin as the scarlet letter. Ultimately Hester overcomes the shame associated the scarlet letter and creates a sense of family for herself and Pearl. This relationship is integral to the theme of this novel and the development of its characters.
Pearls behavior could be described as abnormal, disrespectful, undignified, or altogether opposite of most Puritan customs. “The child could not be made amenable to rules” (p42); she will not conform to the Puritan view of what a child should be like. Pearl’s enduring disobedience is representative of Hester’s disobedient act. Pearl should be constant reminder of personal sin to everyone that meets her; however, as it would be, she only reminds others of Hester’s sin. Around strangers, and at certain times at home, this poor child becomes merely an “unpremeditated offshoot of a passionate moment.” (p52)
Pearl may be Hester’s only hope of a “successful” life after she is convicted of adultery. “‘ I will not lose the child! ‘” Pearl says, “‘…thou knowest what is in my heart, and what are a mother’s rights, and how much the stronger they are, when that mother has but her child and the scarlet letter! Look thou to it! I will not lose the child! Look to it!'” (p64) Pearl is Hester’s hope, life, friend, and pardon.
... of Hester for her sin was quite different than the scarlet letter. He gave Hester the punishment of rearing a very unique child whom she named Pearl. ... Hester's sin but also of her conscious. By Hester not wearing the scarlet letter she was free from the reminder of her sins. In Pearl's eyes the scarlet letter ...
Although Pearl is definitely a positive, spirit building, influence on Hester’s life, Pearl’s main role as the scarlet letter proves to challenge Hester’s resolve. Pearl is “the scarlet letter, only capable of being loved, and so endowed with a millionfold the power of retribution…” (p64) As a symbol of her sin, Hester dresses up Pearl to look nice just like she does to the scarlet letter itself. This is Hester’s way of overcoming her tribulation, she is, nevertheless, constantly aware of her shortcomings… “Thou must gather thine own sunshine. I have none to give thee!” (p54)
As time passes, Hester’s endurance and determination shines through. Many people in the Puritan community “refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength.” (p113) Pearl grows in her understanding of life in the Puritan society and in her understanding of her mother and father. The scarlet letter matures into a symbol of Hester’s perseverance, while Pearl continues to enhance herself as a subject of Hester’s past indiscretions.
It is clear that Pearl is as much a blessing to Hester as she is a wicked reminder of the past. All human beings are naturally endowed with good qualities and bad qualities. A steady balance of each is what makes an interesting and assertive individual. Pearl is the complete fulfillment of Hester’s roles as a human. Pearl’s oneness with nature represents her being part of the natural balance of Hester’s life. Nature “recognized a kindred wildness in the human child [Pearl].” (p160)
Pearl’s role in this novel is, clearly, to serve as a representation of Hester’s sin and act as a “filler” to Hester’s character. Pearl acts as a “filler” by complementing and completing Hester’s personality, behaviors, demeanor, and lifestyle. Pearl’s evolution throughout this novel directly relates to Hester’s acceptance of her sin. Without Pearl, Hester may have: not been caught for adultery, been sentenced to death for adultery, conformed herself with the rest of Puritan society, or become a weak individual. Hester did have Pearl, that is what makes this novel a story worth reading, and that is what makes these characters worth studying.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a novel that shows the Puritanical way of life. Society does not accept the fact that Hester has committed the sin of adultery so they cast her out by making her wear a scarlet letter A across her chest. Pearl is the product of Hesters sin, the scarlet letter is the product of society. This idea shows that Pearl is the scarlet letter and the scarlet ...