Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter is a book of much symbolism. One of the
most complex and misunderstood symbols in the book is Pearl, the
daughter of Hester Prynne. Pearl, throughout the story, develops into
a dynamic symbol – one that is always changing. In the following
essay, I will explore some of the symbolism which Pearl came to
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 the crime of
adultery ‘ At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne’s forehead.’ (Pg. 59) This is how some people felt about her punishment. The Puritan treatment continued, because 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 mental anguish and grief. On the other hand, God’s treatment of Hester for her sin was quite different than just a physical token: he gave Hester the punishment of a very unique child which she named Pearl. This punishment handed down from God was a constant mental and physical reminder to Hester of what she had done wrong, and she could not escape it ‘Thou art not my child! Thou art no Pearl on mine!’ (pg.99) At times Hester would get frustrated. In this aspect, 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 scarlet “A” which she wore ‘Mother dear, what does this scarlet letter mean?-and why dost thou wear it on they bosom?-and why does the minister keep his hand over his heart?’ Pearl would also make her own “A” to wear, and sometimes she play