The Scarlet Letter Thesis Statement Essay Symbolism is one of the major leading and critical part of the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Each character in the novel represents different meanings and ideas. However, the main character who develops into an appealing symbol is Pearl, the daughter of Hester Prynne. Pearl’s representation changes throughout the novel, but she is continually displayed as a wicked character and is demonstrated as God’s “punishment” for Hester’s guilt, and not only that; she continues to disregard the Puritan laws by relating with the nature and being over-joyful.
Pearl, sometimes described as worse as a witch, is a young girl, somewhat smart, with wild temper. Hester, as a single mother of this child, was under heavy stress and guilt. She says, “Oh Father in heaven- if thou art still my father- what is this being which I have brought into the world”? This quote very well describes what she was going through at the time when she was forced into isolation from the world under so much mockery. However, Hester doesn’t give up behaving the “right way. ” She continues to help many people in town, being honest and upright by consistently reflecting upon her sin.
Hawthorne also writes about Hester that she is, “wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly server to hide another. ” While Hester is punished for her guilt, Dimmesdale also suffers on his own. His sin was not adultery, but that he was not brave enough to confess that he had adulterated. It is hard for Dimmesdale to confess, however, being a minister; he keeps quiet to continue “working for God. ” However, Pearl was not only Hester’s consequence and responsibility but also Dimmesdale’s. Pearl shouts out to him, “Thou was not bold! thou wast not true! … Thou woudst not promise to take my hand, and my mother’s…” when Dimmesdale does not stand in the scaffold with them. Pearl seemed to know everything about the scarlet letter, including the fact that Dimmesdale was her father, and she persistently burdens both Hester and Dimmesdale more than they were already. Later, though, Dimmesdale finally realizes what he had done when he sees Hester suffering all by herself for what they had committed together. He confesses his sins in the end and feels deep joy and freedom in his heart.
Pearl is very attracted to the scarlet letter ever since she was a baby. The author writes that “her infant’s eyes had been caught by the glimmering of the gold embroidery about the letter. ” There was a scene where Hester took off her letter “A” and threw it on the ground. Pearl then screams and shouts at her mother for what she had done until she puts her letter back on. Hawthorne describes Pearl as “the scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed with life” which tells us that when the “A” was just for the public humiliation, Pearl represented the true scarlet being.
Hester knew about Pearl’s over-reacting behavior, but she could not condemn the child. Pearl, indeed, was a much powerful “scarlet letter” for Hester than the actual thread that told the world about her guilt. Pearl truly played one of the major parts in The Scarlet Letter, symbolizing Hester and Dimmesdale’s guilt, as well as a character that made this novel appropriate for the romantic period. Hawthorne indeed achieved his goal using Pearl as the connection between Hester and Dimmesdale, analyzing her character as being both the “rose” and the scarlet letter.
Pearl symbolized as the second scarlet letter to Hester by a reminder to what she had done. However, Pearl was also a rose by letting Hester wear the scarlet letter, and being Hester’s only treasure. Pearl was her one and only reason to live. Hester without Pearl would have lived a completely different life; she would not have the scarlet letter on her, nor would have any humiliation, but most importantly, she probably would not have a reason to live without Pearl being her treasure.