AP English 3
9 October 2014
Ain't No Sunshine: A Literary Analysis
Of The Scarlett Letter
Throughout Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlett Letter, the main character, Hester Prynne, is constantly tormented by the guilt she carries. Hester Prynne committed the act of adultery, a rather heinous crime in Puritan life, with one Arthur Dimmesdale. Hester Prynne not only has to live with the knowledge of her own wrong doing, but she constantly is reminded of her misdeed by the red "A" that is pinned to her chest. To complicate things even further, she has a living representation of her sins her daughter Pearl. Pearl Prynne is a daily reminder of the act Hester committed and it crushes Hester to know others see Pearl this way. Hester has trouble dealing with the fact that she brought an innocent soul into such a severe matter and makes herself constantly monitor Pearl, searching for demonic characteristics that are never quite there.
Hawthorne uses the actions of Pearl combined with a motif of sunshine to emphasize how Hester's guilt affects her view of her daughter.
Pearl serves as a source of truth and knowledge to all of those around her. Her uncanny ability to speak truthfully and impartially makes her out to be a Christ figure of sorts. However, Hester is not convinced. She has convinced herself that she has tainted the child in someway, and that Pearl cannot be just another normal girl in society. "But this could never be. Pearl was a born outcast of the infantile world. An imp of evil, emblem and product of sin, she had no right among christened infants" (Hawthorne, 64). Hester seems to almost be convincing herself that Pearl does not belong with other children because of the "odd" way...