Scarlet Letter Symbolism.

Essay by slash_1001High School, 11th gradeA+, January 2004

download word file, 2 pages 3.0

Downloaded 38 times

The Scarlet Letter is a book of much symbolism. One of the most complex symbols in the book is Pearl, the daughter of Hester Prynne. Pearl, throughout the story, develops into a symbol and one that is always changing. In the following essay, I will explore the symbolism Pearl came to represent throughout the book. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester, for her sins, received a scarlet letter, "A" which she had to wear upon her chest. This was the Puritan way of treating her as a criminal, for adultery. As Hester would walk through the streets, she would be looked down upon as if she were some sort of demon from Hell that committed a terrible crime. This would give her much anguish and grief. On the other hand, God's treatment of Hester for her sin was quite different he gave Hester the punishment of a child which she named Pearl. This punishment handed down from God was a constant reminder to Hester of what she had done wrong, and she could not escape it. In this, Pearl symbolized God's way of punishing Hester for adultery.

The way Hester's life was ruined for so long was the ultimate price that Hester paid for Pearl. With Pearl, Hester's life was one almost never filled with joy, but instead a constant nagging. Pearl would harass her mother over the "A" which she wore. Pearl would also make her own "A" to wear. When Hester would go into the town with Pearl, the other children would make fun of her, and Pearl would yell at them. So, in this case, Pearl symbolized the decimation of Hester's life. Although Hester had so much trouble with Pearl, she still felt that Pearl was her treasure.