The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Little Pearl was the daughter and embodied guilt of Hester Prynne, a European woman who moved to puritan New England. Hester Prynne had committed adultery. The townspeople punished her by making her wear the scarlet letter A, which stood for adultery. They cut her off from their little world. Pearl was the only good thing in Hester's secluded world. But by secluding Hester, the townspeople inevitably secluded her daughter as well.
Pearl grew up alone; she had no kids to play with. She only had her vivid imagination and her mother as playmates. Little Pearl seemed to constantly torment her mother simply by her presence and more so by her actions. Pearl was a mischievous little girl, very curious as well. Even as a baby, she would point to Hester's scarlet letter and laugh, tormenting her mother. Hawthorne even says that the first thing that the baby Pearl noticed, in her life, was the scarlet letter.
Throughout the book, there are many examples of Pearl's torture. For example, one day, in a rare mood of tenderness, Pearl kissed her mother's brow and both cheeks, and then she was "impelled" to kiss the scarlet letter as well. Thus, perturbing her mother.
The three-year-old tormented her mother by saying that she had no heavenly father when she was told that her heavenly father sent her. At the governor's house, even when Mr. Wilson asked the child who had made her, she replies by saying she "had not been made at all, but had been plucked off the bush of wild roses that grew by the prison door." Soon after, Hester's minister, Mr. Dimmesdale spoke up on behalf of the child and her mother. If he had not, Hester would have lost custody of her child.