The Scarlet Letter- Analysis on Pearl

Essay by chinks_of_06High School, 11th gradeA, December 2004

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The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a novel about sinfulness, revenge and purity. The setting takes place in the seventeenth century in the small Puritan town in Boston, Massachusetts. The protagonist, Hester Prynne has been accused of committing adultery and forced to wear a scarlet letter on her gown as a punishment. Her anonymous partner is the young Puritan minister, Arthur Dimmesdale, who doesn't take responsibility for the same sin Hester has perpetrated. The byproduct of their transgression results in a daughter by the name of Pearl. She presents herself as a free-spirited and unpredictable young child who has reference to a demon child. Although she may be thought of as possessed, Hawthorne uses Pearl as the most distinctive symbol in the novel because she is living proof of how good can result from a bad situation by saving her mother from the grasp of the disapproving Puritans.

Pearl is exceedingly precious to Hester because she is her only prized treasure. When mother and daughter go to Governor Bellingham's mansion to discuss the guardianship of Pearl, Reverend Wilson inquires Pearl about who made her. She says that "she had not been made at all, but had been plucked by her mother off the bush of wild roses that grew by the prison-door." The Governor is shocked by her response and believes that child should be in the hands of a better-suited caretaker. Hester instantaneously rejects the notion and exclaims, "Ye shall not take her! I will die first! God gave her into my keeping! I will not give her up!" Hester's determination to keep her daughter shows how Pearl means everything in the world to her. Had Pearl been taken away, she would have given up on life in its entirety and killed herself as an escape from...