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. Throughout the story Pearl develops into a prominent symbol of the “A”. In this essay the example of symbolism Pearl comes to represent will be explained. In the Scarlet Letter, Hester, for her sins, received a scarlet letter, “A” which she had to wear upon her chest for the rest of her life in Boston. This was the Puritan way of punishing her for her then criminal action of adultery.
She wondered the streets to be given sour looks from all. This eventually caused so much mental and physical anguish that she eventually questioned why she should live if it weren’t for her Pearl. Pearl was a bundle of life sent from god to remind her of her wrong doing each and every moment and as a walking sermon to preach against sin for others. Hester’s wasted life the ultimate price that Hester paid for Pearl. With Pearl, Hester’s life was almost never filled with joy, but instead a constant reminder of the harsh word adultery.
Pearl would also make her own “A” to wear, and sometimes she played games wither her mother’s trying to hit it with rocks. When Hester would go into the town with Pearl, the other children would make fun of her and Pearl and would yell and throw dirt at them. So in this case, Pearl symbolized the decimation of Hester’s life and mental state. Although Hester had so much trouble with Pearl, she still felt that Pearl was her ultimate treasure. Pearl was really the only thing that Hester had in life. Surely if Pearl wasn’t in Hester’s life, Hester would have taken her own life.
Once and a while, Pearl would bring joy to Hester’s life, and that helped her to bare the guilt, lonesomeness, and isolation that became the main theme of her life. Pearl could be compared to weather, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always changing. It was Pearl’s pounding storms that gave Hester so much grief. Pearl’s exuberant personality caused Puritans to believe she was a child of witchcraft and a mischievous little elf. But basically she represented everything that was the exact opposite of Puritan belief.
Pearl’s taunting and malice disposition sometimes even caused Hester to make outbursts like “Thou art not my child! Thou art no Pearl of mine! ” Some would believe the “A” stood for anti-puritan for her wild soul could never be confined by the rules of the conservative Puritan Society. One final way in which Pearl symbolized something in the novel was with her association with the scarlet letter. Pearl really was the scarlet letter, “a manifestation of sin”, because if Pearl would had never been born, Hester would not had to wear that burden upon her chest.
Without that burden Hester would have led a much better life then the one she had throughout the novel. In conclusion, Pearl was an example of an underdog that ends up winning the fight no matter that all odds are against them. She still pulled through a winner despite the Puritans view. She herself knew she was above them so did the author Hawthorne. You could tell as you read her dialogue, and description. She was intelligent, inquisitive, and full of free thought; all things tied together makes for a complex person and a content one. But her main achievement would have to be being a source of survival for Hester.