Essay by bayou25University, Master'sA, October 2004

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Character Analysis of Pearl

One of the most complex and elaborate characters in The Scarlett Letter is Pearl, the offspring of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale. Throughout the story, Pearl becomes a dynamic individual and an important symbol; she is constantly changing. Pearl's involvement in the complex history of her parents forced her to be viewed as different and is shunned because of her mother's sin. Pearl is a living scarlet letter to Hester, Dimmesdale and finally the reader, acting as a constant reminder of Hester's, as well as humanity's shortcomings. Hawthorne uses vivid descriptions to characterize Pearl, as he does to every character throughout the story ( Clendenning 50).

Pearl is first described as the infant; "..Whose innocent life had sprung, by the inscrutable decree of Providence, a lovely and immortal flower, out of the rank luxuriance of a guilty passion ( Baym 10).From the beginning, her life is viewed as the result of a sin and as a punishment.

Physically, Pearl has a " beauty that became everyday more brilliant, and the intelligence that threw its quivering sunshine over the tiny features of this child." Pearl is described as beautiful, with a " Beauty that shone with deep and vivid tints" a bright complexion, eyes possessing intensity both of depth and glow. Hair of deep, glossy brown , and which would be akin to black ( Baym 10). Combined with her lavish beauty Hester dresses her child in plentiful dresses that are the envy of even the finest dressed adults in the town. The lovely dresses and her beauty cause her to be viewed as even stranger from the other typical Puritan children, whom are dressed in traditional clothing.

As a result, Pearl is accepted only by nature and animals, and ostracized by the other Puritan children.