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Pearl As The Symbol Of Sin In The Scarlet Letter

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In lots of novels, some characters’ functions in the story are being symbols. For instance, piggy in Lords of Flies and Gatsby in The Great Gatsby. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester’s daughter—Pearl not just play a simple child character in the story, she is also a constant reminder of the scarlet letter and Hester’s sin because Pearl’s dressing is similar to the letter, her drawing attention to the letter and she is banished by the society with her mother’s sin.

Initially, Pearl’s dressing is similar to the scarlet letter. The scarlet letter is made of fancy material, it is in fine red cloth surrounded with elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread. After Hester came out of prison, her only job is being a tailor, who used to make clothes for some upper-level families. Coincidentally, She kept a strange habit, she loves to make clothes for Pearl with extremely fancy material, just like the scarlet letter. “Her mother had bought the richest tissues that could be procured, and allowed her imaginative faculty its fully play in the arrangement and decoration of the dresses which the child wore before the public eye”(85). The similarity between Pearl’s clothes and the scarlet letter , in some ways, implies the close relationship between Pearl and Hester’s sin.

Secondly, she drew attention to the scarlet letter many times. Since Pearl is born, she never stops reminding and interacting with the letter which hangs on her mother’s chest. For example, Pearl makes the scarlet letter because she is the evident of Hester’s adultery crime, she touched it with her instance in the market and she kept asking Hester about the meaning of the letter times by times. Once, Hester was talking to Dimmesdale in the forest secretly. Pearl even tried to make a letter “A” with the seaweed and other plants. “She imitated, as best as she could, on her own bosom the decoration with which she was so familiar with her mother’s. A letter--the letter A--but freshly green instead of scarlet.”(169). The green letter not only a handicraft made by Pearl ,but it also remind Hester the shape of the scarlet letter and its meaning of sin. As a result, Pearl draws the attention to the scarlet letter with her behaviors and actions.

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Finally, Pearl is banished by society and having no friends like her mother. Since Pearl is born, even her looking is pretty and she had a native grace, Pearl is called as imp of evil by the Puritan kids and adults because of her mother’s adultery sin. In addition, Pearl is not an opening kid. Under this situation, when other children are playing around, she never joins them or talks to them. “Pearl saw, and gazed intently, but never sought to make acquaintance. If spoken to, she would not speak again” (89). With the rumor among the people, she cannot have any friends. She is just like her mother Hester, who lives alone since her adultery crime is well known for people in the city. So Pearl’s embarrassing social situation strongly reminds the scarlet letter and the sin of Hester.

By providing the quotes and explanation, it is obvious to see that Pearl is a symbol in the book which represent the scarlet letter. It is because her clothes material

is similar to the scarlet letter, the attention she awake people to Hester’s letter and her awkward social situation which caused by her mother’s sin. Even though Pearl reminds Hester about her sin. Pearl reminds Hester about her sin which changed Hester into a woman with strong strength who finally get redemption and forgiveness.

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Pearl As The Symbol Of Sin In The Scarlet Letter. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from
“Pearl As The Symbol Of Sin In The Scarlet Letter.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
Pearl As The Symbol Of Sin In The Scarlet Letter. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 Mar. 2024].
Pearl As The Symbol Of Sin In The Scarlet Letter [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2024 Mar 5]. Available from:
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