Books and Movies Reviews

The Scarlet Letter

Symbolism is the practice of representing things by symbols. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a book of much symbolism. Set in 17th century New England, the book starts with the public punishment of Hester Prynne, a convicted adulterer. One of themost complex and misunderstood symbols in the book is Hester's illegitimate daughter, Pearl. Throughout the story, she develops intoa dynamic symbol -one that is always changing. Pearl represents her mother's punishment, a rose, and the scarlet letter.
In The Scarlet Letter, the Puritans forced Hester to wear a scarlet letter "A" across for her chest, for the crime of adultery. The punishment continued as Hester was treatedas outcast and mocked by the town. "Tomorrow would bring its own trial with it; so would the next day, so would the next," the narrator explained. On the other hand, God's treatment of Hester for her sin was quite different than just aphysical token: he gave Hester a very unique childwhich she named Pearl.The child was a constant mental and physical reminder to Hester of what she had done wrong and how she could not escape it. In this aspect, Pearl symbolizedGod's way of punishing Hester for adultery.
"She named the infant Pearl as of being of great price-purchased with all her mother had," the narrator says. Pearl grew to be a very passionate and lively young girl. She becomes a contradicting factor in her mother's life. To her mother, Pearl symbolized the rosebush outside of the jail, because at some times she could be bright and vibrant. However at other times,she could be wilting.It was at these times when she was "wilting"that brought Hester the most grief.
One final way in which Pearl symbolized something in the novel was her association with the scarlet letter. Hester began to think of the letter and her daughter as both &quo…

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