Beautiful Disasters Pearl As Essay, Research Paper
Sometimes beauty is found in places as unexpected as a rosebush growing outside of a prison in a puritan colonial village. Pearl Prynne is an unearthly beautiful child with a with spirit born under unimaginably sinful conditions, all of which are somehow related to the ideas, actions, and views of others on
Hester s punishment. In Nathaniel Hawthorne s The Scarlet Letter, Pearl serves as Hester s living, breathing Scarlet letter. Pearl evokes the same emotion and reactions from the townspeople, as does the scarlet letter. The people look at the slight sense of pride Hester has in her letter in the same way they look at the way Hester lets Pearl do whatever she wants. They feel Hester isn t fit to raise the child. The extremity of gossip from the females of the village in the beginning of the book is only matched by the amount that Pearl s wild attitude stirs up later on. Hester s A is the example for all of what sin is. The A makes Hester much avoided and the parents tell their children to watch out for her. Theses same parents say the same things to their kids about avoiding Pearl, who is infamous for her uncontrollable behavior with her peers and other adults. Just as infamous as Hester s A for the wild sinful actions it symbolizes. Like Hester s scarlet letter, Pearl shows extreme beauty in a form that is not traditional, positive, tame, or fully accepted. When Hester crafts the A that she has to wear on her chest, She uses a deep, passionate shade of red and embroiders it very intricately with bright gold thread. The A was meant to
mark Hester in a negative manor; its purpose is to let everyone know that Hester is a sinner. Hester takes something extremely negative and makes it appear as passionately beautiful. Hawthorne portrays Pearl in a very detailed specific manor, meant to put emphasis on the similarities between Pearl and the ‘A . She is the symbol of Hester s sin but the tone that is used when referring to her makes her out to appear as a stunningly beautiful creature. The narrator states, There was a trait of passion, a certain depth of hue, which she never lost ( ). Even the adjectives he uses in describing Pearl suggest something color related ( hue ). There is a feeling of wildness and uncontrollably in Pearl s appearance; more specifically in her eyes. Pearl s beauty has a splendor unlike that of any other child. Like the scarlet letter, Pearl serves as Hester s beautiful disaster. There are also many similarities between the relationship of Hester and Pearl and the relationship between Hester and her letter. Hester has no pride in the A on her chest, but even after she is not required to wear it, she keeps it on anyway. She shows this same attitude towards Pearl. Hester is not proud of her sin, but she understands the consequences of it and does not try to hide it from anyone. She could ve given the child up to the governor and had one less branding to worry about, but she fought for that child to stay under her care. She even goes so far as to dress Pearl up in a velvet dress of a deep shade of red when she takes her to the governor s house. Hester consciously
envisions Pearl as a living breathing scarlet A , running ahead with free spirit flying. She is proud of her child through it all. In conclusion, Pearl is born from and into sin but still manages to be portrayed as a pure entity. Her wildness and free spirit is something that was not inflicted by anyone but herself. She manages to embody so many things that come along with something like a symbol for adultery in a puritan society, but still holds onto the innocence of a child. It is just as rare that someone of such a young age is described as so passionately beautiful as is the use of the same description for something as negative as Hester s scarlet letter. Pearl is Hester s living, breathing, and inescapable Scarlet letter.