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How Does Pearl Represent Ambiguity?

Essay by   •  April 10, 2011  •  Essay  •  458 Words (2 Pages)  •  2,365 Views

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Hawthorne's strategies make the reader focus more on Pearl's purpose in the book rather than what Pearl really is. Hawthorne gives Pearl's certain characteristics to question her origin. Pearl knows things and does things that should be out of question for what a child her age should do. Pearl has given off many demonic traits and actions through this book. Pearl consistently questions Hester about what the scarlet letter A really means. Such as, when Pearl was in the forest, and Hester removed the scarlet letter and exposed her hair from her cap, Pearl went berserk, and forced Hester to put it on again. Pearl bases her actions on the Scarlet Letter, and it is almost like she is an demonic symbol and being as a result of Hester's sin. Pearl does things like this with the A, and she does know that the scarlet letter means something, and wants to know what it is. This gives off a demonic characteristic because Pearl should not have a hunch that the scarlet letter has a really profound meaning at this age. However, it also must be considered that Pearl was raised in isolation from the community, so she does not necessarily know how the Puritan community acts, and she wasn't taught morals of a normal child growing up in isolation However, even though Pearl has demonic traits, she also gives off a characteristic of innocence. When Pearl and Hester entered the forest, a shadow fell upon Hester, but light was given off on Pearl. This symbolizes the innocence of Pearl, and the sin of Hester. So Hawthorne is being ambiguous by showing that Pearl is really demonic and represents sin, but then again he also represents that Pearl is just raised in isolation, and she is just a reflection of Hester's sin. That's why Hawthorne tries to give off different meanings of Pearl's morals and origins, but he is just trying to convey what effect Pearl has on hester, and she is the symbol of her sin. "Hester could only account for the child's character- and even then most vaguely and imperfectly-by recalling what she herself has been during that momentous period while Pearl was imbibing her soul from the spiritual world, and her bodily frame from its material on earth." Hawthorne tries to connect Pearl with the spiritual world, and throughout the book, she is thought of as a devil, but this devilish attitude is just to heighten the representations of Hester's struggle, and what Hester must go through because of her sin. Hawthorne is being ambiguous because it doesn't necessarily matter what Pearl's origin is, but what the purpose and symbol of her actually is in this book, but this ambiguity adds to Pearl's nature and purpose.

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