A debate about the human sin of pearl in the scarlet letter

Rather, she is a complicated symbol of an act of love and passion, an act which was also adultery.

A debate about the human sin of pearl in the scarlet letter

Hawthorne uses several different concrete objects to represent something of deeper meaning. Among these symbols is the scarlet letter "A" itself.

Talvez você também goste...

It is made of red cloth and beautifully embroidered. It is a literal symbol of the sin of adultery. The letter "A" appears in several places and several forms. It is the letter that appears on Hester's heart that she is condemned to wear for the remainder of her life.

At Governor Bellingham's mansion it is magnified in the breastplate. It seems as though she is hidden behind it. On the night that Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold with Hester and Pearl, a huge letter A appears in the sky.


Later, while in the forest, Pearl arranges a letter a on her heart that is made of eel grass. One of the most dramatic of the A's that appear in the book is the A that appears on Dimmesdale's chest.

Not only does the "A" symbolize adultery, but it also has several other meanings to the different characters as well. To the community, it is simply a mark of punishment.

To Hester, it is a mark of embarrassment and humiliation. To Dimmesdale, the scarlet letter is a reminder of his own guilt. To Pearl, the mark is a mysterious curiosity. To Chillingworth, the "A" is his chance to get revenge on Dimmesdale. Later, the letter symbolizes "Able" when Hester wins some respect from the townspeople.

The scarlet letter is meant to be a symbol of shame, but instead it becomes a powerful symbol of identity to Hester.

The letter's meaning shifts as time passes. Originally intended to mark Hester as an adulterer, the "A" eventually comes to stand for "Able. Like Pearl, the letter functions as a physical reminder of Hester's affair with Dimmesdale.

But, compared with a human child, the letter seems insignificant, and thus helps to point out the ultimate meaninglessness of the community's system of judgment and punishment.

A debate about the human sin of pearl in the scarlet letter

The child has been sent from God, or at least from nature, but the letter is merely a human contrivance. Additionally, the instability of the letter's apparent meaning calls into question society's ability to use symbols for ideological reinforcement.

More often than not, a symbol becomes a focal point for critical analysis and debate. To Dimmesdale, the meteor implies that he should wear a mark of shame just as Hester does.

The meteor is interpreted differently by the rest of the community, which thinks that it stands for "Angel" and marks Governor Winthrop's entry into heaven. But "Angel" is an awkward reading of the symbol.

Kelsey Federspill Scarlet Letter Literary Analysis R5 2. 12 Over Coming Guilt Remorse is a feeling experienced after committing an act that produces a sense of guilt. A life lesson can be learned in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, about the theme of guilt. Get an answer for 'If Pearl is the human embodiment of sin, what is the author trying to state by having a human be a symbol?' and find homework help for other The Scarlet Letter questions at eNotes. Or is there? Not according to the townspeople and magistrates of The Scarlet Letter. To them, sin is sin: it has to be punished publicly and harshly. But Dimmesdale offers us a hierarchy of sin—a crime of passion, like the one he and Hester committed, isn't nearly as bad as betraying the human heart by mercilessly plotting to destroy a man.

The Puritans commonly looked to symbols to confirm divine sentiments. In this narrative, however, symbols are taken to mean what the beholder wants them to mean.The obvious way to read the The Scarlet Letter is to say that Pearl ends up redeeming both her mom and Dimmesdale.

She's the "pearl of great price" who ends up restoring their souls. She's the "pearl of great price" who ends up restoring their souls. Even Pearl's clothes contribute to her symbolic purpose in the novel by making an association between her, the scarlet letter, and Hester's passion.

Much to the consternation of her Puritan society, Hester dresses Pearl in outfits of gold or red or both.

A debate about the human sin of pearl in the scarlet letter

Pearl is a sort of living version of her mother’s scarlet letter. She is the physical consequence of sexual sin and the indicator of a transgression. Yet, even as a reminder of Hester’s “sin,” Pearl is more than a mere punishment to her mother: she is also a blessing.

In The Scarlet Letter, each of the main characters, whether protagonist or antagonist, are guilty of a sin or form of “evil”. However, one character stands out from the rest.

Popular Topics

This character is guilty of the worst form of malice and evil in the entire book. The theme of Sin in The Scarlet Letter from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes.

Sign In Sign Up. Lit. Guides. Lit. Terms. All Symbols Red and Black The Scarlet Letter Pearl all her sympathies; and as her tears fell upon her father's cheek, they were the pledge that she would grow up amid human joy and sorrow, nor for ever do battle.

Pearl sees the scarlet letter, the mark of sin, as a natural part of life. It is important to notice how Hawthorne includes the word “woman” in this statement to show Pearl’s view of sin .

Scarlet Letter Analysis - Sample Essays