Essay by denvrbob01 February 2004

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a novel that shows the Puritanical way of life. Hawthorne, a critically acclaimed American writer of the 19th century, was born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1804. The novelist's book, The Scarlet Letter, is by all accounts considered one of the all time great literary classics. Hawthorne uses representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form. Throughout his writing it is evident that society does not accept the fact that Hester has committed the sin of adultery. The punishment for committing this sin includes casting her out by making her wear a scarlet letter 'A' across her chest. Throughout the book, Pearl is the product of Hester's sin; the scarlet letter is the product of society. Pearl is the bodily consequence of sexual sin and the sign of indiscretion. She is also the physical connection linking Dimmesdale and Hester, and the one that eventually makes them finally accept their sin.

In Hawthorne's effort to reveal the consequences of hypocrisy and judgment, Hawthorne uses Pearl to symbolize Hester's quilt, Hester's hope for redemption, and the freedom that accompanies innocence.

Throughout the Scarlet Letter Pearl plays one of the most crucial roles. This role includes constantly reminding Hester of her adulterant sin. Right from the beginning Pearl is immediately drawn to the "A" in which Hester bares. "The first object of which Pearl seemed to become aware was the scarlet letter on Hester's bosom! .... the infant's eyes had been caught by the glimmering of the gold embroidery about the letter and, putting up her little hand, she grasped at it .... with a decided gleam." Pearl has an instinctive keenness to center her attention on the scarlet letter many times throughout the book. Some...