Scarlet Letter Pearl Symbolism

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In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne utilizes Pearl as a vessel to explore motifs throughout the novel that expose the faults in human nature and society; such as the suffocating expectations of civilization versus the freeing and accepting wilderness and the exposure of the daylight versus the concealment of night. After discovering Chillingworth’s plans, Hester decides to confess to Dimmesdale about their secret relationship. Hester asks Dimmesdale to meet with her in the forest because she felt “that both the minister and she would need the whole wide world to breathe in… [and that she] never thought of meeting him in any narrower privacy than beneath the open sky” (122). Ironically, Hester feels that she can be completely free and honest with the minister, even under…show more content…
When Hester was prosecuted on the scaffold, it was for the purpose of her being humiliated in broad daylight with her sins in plain view: the letter and the child. When Hester and Pearl visit the forest, the sky “overhead was a gray expanse of cloud” (122), making Hester and Dimmesdale’s meeting place more hidden. Pearl then told her mother that “the sunshine does not love [her]. It [ran] away and [hid] itself, because it is afraid of something on [her] bosom” (123). Pearl points out that even in the cloak of the darkness, Hester’s sins cannot be hidden. Earlier in the novel, when Dimmesdale is standing on the scaffold at night, he hears Pearl and Hester and tells them to “come up hither… ye have both been here before, but I was not with you. Come up hither once again, and we will stand all three together” (101). Dimmesdale will only stand with them in the veil of darkness, and he proves this by saying “nay; not so, my little Pearl” (102) when Pearl asks him if he would “stand [there] with [her] mother and [her], [the next day at] noontide”
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