Significance of Pearl's Behavior in the Scarlet Letter

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Significance of Pearl's Behavior in the "Scarlet Letter"

Pearl’s behavior toward her mother and Reverend Dimmesdale is very unique to the storyline. Her behavior could be characterized as a chameleon where she is part of everything around her and the changes that occur externally affect her internally. Ever since Pearl was born she has been regarded as the reincarnation of her mothers sin. The community thinks of her just like they think of the scarlet letter on her mother. Pearls archetype would definitely be one of an outcast and even in her own way a loser of innocence.

Growing up Hester thinks that Pearl is a constant reminder of her sin and feels very guilty which reflects on her innocent child. She constantly questions god about Pearls existence. She even goes so far as to asking Pearl, “Child, what art thou?”[Pg 49] By doing this she is separating Pearl from society. Hester’s feelings become even worst when she questions weather Pearls existence is only due to the Demon sending Pearl to make Hester suffer. Hester at one point even denies that Pearl is her daughter by saying, “Thou art not my child! Thou art no Pearl of mine!”[Pg 49] Pearls different behavior towards her mother is very odd. She gives her mother very little respect but only due to Hester fearing Pearl because of her inability to overcome her own guilty conscience. Then again Pearl also sticks up for her mother by throwing mud at the village kids for ridiculing her mother. Pearl keeps her mother in line, because without Pearl her mother would most likely live a life of evil in the forest.

Pearls behavior towards Dimmesdale is very straightforward. She knows deep down that he is her father and even shows compassion towards him when he makes it possible for her and her mother to stay together as a family. The night that Dimmesdale was at the scaffold and Hester and Pearl went to go sit by him, Pearl urges him to meet them there at noon the next day. Pearl said this so she could help Dimmesdale with his guilt and to finally let his sin go. Pearls main goal for Dimmesdale is to show him that he has to finally fess up to his sin and face the crowd of Puritans.

In one scene where Dimmesdale and Hesters passion ignites again in the woods, Hester lets her hair out and throws the scarlet letter on the ground. Pearl outraged by this demands her mother to pick up the letter. Throwing the scarlet letter down signifies that Hester is throwing Pearl away in a sense and is letting her sin carry her away once again after all those years. Pearl makes it so they cannot escape their fate and for Dimmesdale to still to face the crowd. Running away will do no good because their sin will still be deep in their heart.

Without Pearl this novel would have no real symbolic meaning. Some may think that Pearl is a strange child who complains and is very stubborn but she is only like this for a particular reason. That reason is to keep things running smoothly, by keeping her mother in line and by attempting to make Dimmesdale confess his sin. Pearl is the scarlet letter and once her tasks are complete she can return to being a normal child. All of these characteristics of Pearl make this a real in-depth story line that makes this an American Classic.

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