The scarlet letter: manipulation of the pearl as a device and symbol of the plot

A distinguished novel applies numerous literary devices to magnify and enhance the protagonist of the work. By amplifying the environment around the character, the author creates for himself a sphere of options regarding character development, situational responses, and peer interaction – he is allowed full 360-degree control of the modified character and can compose a well-developed structure. , attractive character.

Hawthorne manipulates one of the most popular techniques of this literary device in his novel The Scarlet Letter by applying secondary characters who comment on the internal forces that rage within the novel’s protagonist, Hester Prynne. Perhaps the most influential of which is her own daughter, a symbol in herself of Hester’s mortal sin who is also capable of providing valuable information to the reader about Hester’s inner pain and anguish. As we read the work, we learn that as Pearl develops, so do the levels of complexity and pain from Hester Prynne’s sin.

Hawthorne first reveals Pearl’s meaning when introducing Hester during her public embarrassment. The horrified women of the town scold and humiliate her for all the world to see, the proof is in that growing mass in her stomach. The problem is that, in reality, all Puritans were victims of sin at times; Hester was simply one of the few who took the test upon her: living her regret. Alternatively, the rest of Puritan society would hide their sins from the light of day: they would rather drag them to the day of judgment rather than reveal them to the scrutiny community. In this way, the pearl acts as one of the many representative symbols that it portrays throughout the book. Her very existence acts as a possible salvation that Hester can achieve. Simply being there for the community to see serves as a start to the great amount of penance you will have to endure until your death.

Later in the book, after Pearl’s arrival in the world, we begin to see the stark differences between a child who grows up in a traditional Puritan society and a child who grows up in an environment of freedom; isolated from the rest of the world with minimal human interaction. While other Puritan children rose like yeast in the confines of a frying pan, crafted to fit the creator’s mold, Pearl unfolded to the world like a sunflower opening in the sun. Pure radiance and individuality that find their way not by virtue of a strict word and a hard whip, but by the burning passion that lies within his heart. However, this lack of human contact hurt Pearl in other ways.

Her estrangement from society left her stripped of the ability to interact humanely with traditional Puritans. He also built a strong dependence on his mother, who, as much as she tortured, was the only true source of comfort in the world. We see this when Pearl and Hester travel to town one day to deliver a pair of gloves to the governor. When a group of children threw sticks and mud at the two, Pearl erupted in a fit of rage: she threw stones, kicked and yelled at all the children regardless of the possible repercussions. Today, the psychologist would agree that the lack of diversity in the people with whom Pearl interacted at a young age was dangerous for the proper development of her personality.

Hester also blames her for her sins on Pearl. She understands that as a result of her own actions, Pearl would have to work very hard to achieve any kind of normal life in traditional Puritan society. Hester doubts that her adulterous ways will break the synonymous relationship with Pearl. To assuage her guilt to some degree, Hester dresses Pearl in the best materials available and herself in a rough gray cloth. This stark contrast acted as a way of distancing himself from Pearl as much as he could in any way that the Puritan community might interpret as negative.

A secondary way Hester tries to cleanse herself of her guilt is the way she actually raises and treats Pearl. The hands-off approach she applies is the result of a combination of her inability to raise a child alone, her need to never hurt Pearl in any way, and her incompetence in the ways of traditional Puritan discipline. The results are not all positive. Pearl turns out to be almost impossible to control in important situations and is too independent to be attached to her mother’s sadness. Hester creates a precarious situation for herself: her son is very free and loving, but he is almost impossible to control. Yet beyond all else, Hester manages to provide a valuable service to Pearl: allowing her to develop in her own way rather than in the strict steel ties of traditional Puritan ways.

Pearl is important in the novel because she acts as a deep character, full of contrasts and devices, various symbols, most importantly, a physical manifestation of Hester’s sin, and a light in Hester’s dark existence. The product of a fatal sin in a strictly religious community, Pearl develops in a curious way, and the reasons for her actions can only be speculated. Hawthorne explores this unique situation and exploits it for its rich veins of contrast and plot commentary.