Sei sulla pagina 1di 2

Magnus McArthur

English 10 Pre AP

Mrs. Yeaton P3

15 November 2017

“The Scarlet Letter” Analysis

Throughout the classic novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne known as “The Scarlet

Letter”, contradicting patterns of description are used to identify Hester Prynne’s daughter Pearl.

During the historical fiction piece, Pearl is illustrated as both angel and demon within a span of

one chapter. Hester’s interpretations of the child create purpose and symbolic relevance which

are created by Hawthorne’s diction, tone, and imagery.

The goodness Pearl symbolizes has a powerful paradox with evil and is an important

aspect and necessary for the mass of literature. In the second paragraph of the novel, Hawthorne

writes, “In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would poorly serve

to hide an other, she took the baby on her arm, with a burning blush” which states that, due to the

scarlet letters beauty, Pearl is revealed to the masses rather than concealed due to interpretation

of goodness (Hawthorne 46). Pearls creation, due to adultery, placed a burden upon her mother

allowing her to be shamed by the public with a scarlet letter “A” placed on her bosom. As Pearl

is a symbol of adultery, she is represented as “beautiful” as the the scarlet letter is.

During the novel's chapter dedicated to Pearl, chapter 6 hence the title, Hawthorne uses a

biblical allusion to describe her pureness as well as goodness; “By its perfect shape, its vigor,

and its natural dexterity in the use of untried limbs, the infant was worthy to have been brought

forth in Eden; worthy to have been left there to play with the angels”(Hawthorne 74). This

allusion glorifies how pure Pearls soul is as a small child employing references to the
harmonious “Eden”. As she was created by sinful actions, it is ironic that Hawthorne would paint

this figure in such a positive way. Pearls positive image that due to the scarlet letter has given her

a worthy play date with the angels which characterizes her despite contradictory opposing factors

that should have the opposite effect .

Although Pearl is described as a saint by the narrator of the novel, in the same chapter she

is worthy of being brought from Eden, she is also “demon offspring”. Hawthorne writes “...some

of her odd attributes, had given it that poor little pearl was a demon offspring” to show how

pearls strange actions such as the ability to hold a conversation at a very young age as well as

witch craft like activities reveal devilish character in her (Hawthorne 81). Other demonic rituals

the young girl has performed include chanting about how the “Black man”, Satan, will catch

Hester and reverend Dimmesdale for their sins and dancing upon graves which completely

contradicts Hawthorne's statement as the the start of chapter six and also builds her character.

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work includes various subliminal and direct interpretations of the

main character Hester’s daughter Pearl. Characterization of this character was created by the

diction, imagery, figurative language Hawthorne spreads throughout the novel as well as the

author’s tone.