The Scarlet Letter

describe pearl

Chapter 5-7

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 2
Add Yours


Hester's daughter. Pearl is characterized as a living version of the scarlet letter. She constantly causes her mother and Dimmesdale torment and anguish throughout the novel with her ability to at once state the truth and deny it when it is most necessary. Pearl is described as extremely beautiful but lacking Christian decency. After Arthur Dimmesdale dies, Pearl's wildness eases, and she eventually marries.


Analysis/ Chapter 6

Pearl is the living embodiment of her mother's sin. She is a child of passion, wild and unfettered, and as a result she becomes mesmerized by the scarlet letter that her mother must wear. Even before she can speak, she is grasping for it, as if she knows that this holds the secret of her birth, and that its power led to her own creation. Hester does not have the ability to tame her daughter; she simply gives in to the child's inner nature. What is suggested, then, is that as long as Hester herself remains unsure about the moral consequences of her affair, so long as she lives in limbo between passion and duty, we could say, she will never be able to control Pearl. But once she makes peace with her sin, Pearl may truly become her child, a child of love.

In the meantime, however, Pearl seems very much an embodiment of unfettered id. She has no interest in playing with other children and can be violent towards them. She is not protective of her mother either. Psychoanalysts might identify Pearl as a manifestation of rage, an expression of the repressed love and passion that are silenced by puritanical society. After all, if Dimmesdale and Hester still love each other, their love is quelled and silenced by law, while Hester's loveless marriage with Chillingworth is endorsed.