The Scarlet Letter
The Little Human A Incarnate
In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, many of the characters suffer from the tolls of sin, but none as horribly as Hester's daughter Pearl. She alone suffers from sin that is not her own, but rather that of her mother. From the day she is conceived, Pearl is portrayed as an offspring of vice. She is brought introduced to the discerning, pitiless domain of the Puritan religion from inside a jail, a place where no light can touch the depths of her mother's sin. The austere Puritan ways punish Hester through banishment from the community and the church, simultaneously punishing Pearl in the process. This isolation leads to an unspoken detachment and animosity between her and the other Puritan children. Thus we see how Pearl is conceived through sin, and how she suffers when her mother and the community situate this deed upon her like the scarlet letter on her mother's bosom.
Hester Prynn impresses her feelings of guilt onto Pearl, whom she sees as a reminder of her sin, especially since as an infant Pearl is acutely aware of the scarlet letter A on her mother's chest. When still in her crib, Pearl reached up and grasped the letter, causing "Hester Prynne [to] clutch the fatal tokenso infinite was the...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 840 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6269 literature essays, 1739 sample college application essays, 251 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in