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.Pearl, throughout the story, develops into
a dynamic symbol -one that is always changing.In the following
essay, I will explore some of the symbolism which Pearl came to
In The Scarlet Letter, Hester, for her sins, received a
scarlet letter, “A” which she had to wear upon her chest.This was
the Puritan way of treating her as a criminal, for the crime of
adultery.The Puritan treatment continued, because as Hester would
walk through the streets, she would be looked down upon as if she were
some sort of demon from Hell, that committed a terrible crime.This
would give her much mental anguish and grief.On the other hand,
God's treatment of Hester for her sin was quite different than just a
physical token: he gave Hester the punishment of a very unique child
which she named Pearl.This punishment handed down from God was a
constant mental and physical reminder to Hester of what she had done
wrong, and she could not escape it.In this aspect, Pearl symbolized
God's way of punishing Hester for adultery.
The way Hester's life was ruined for so long was the ultimate
price that Hester paid for Pearl.With Pearl, Hester's life was one
almost never filled with joy, but instead a constant nagging.Pearl
would harass her mother over the scarlet “A” which she wore.Pearl
would also make her own “A” to wear, and sometimes she played games
with 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 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