Lynnette BollingerCohort AA34ABProfessor Cynthia M. Howell, Ph.D.February 14, 2011 |
The Scarlet Letter |
Hester Prynne once asked, “Wilt thou let me be at peace, if I once tell thee?” (Hawthorne). In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, life was centered on a strict Puritan society in which one cannot indulge in their deepest desires and wishes. The Puritan life style was based purely on sin. They also believed that all people were sinners who were despised and hated by God. Sinners were subject to the worst kind of punishment, suffering, and worst torment. The Puritan society did not accept the fact that Hester had committed adultery, one of the sins of Ten Contentment’s. Hester and Arthur Dimmesdale bore the punishment of their adultery, which affected their daughter, Pearl. While Dimmesdale plagues himself with guilt and Hester lived with the scarlet letter “A” across her chest it was Pearl who received the worst penalty of all. She had to suffer for sins which she did not commit. The village where they resided associated her with the circumstances of her birth. They branded Pearl with the same reputation as her mother. Although many in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter endured the results of sin, none had a punishment as severe as the one that Pearl suffered.
From the very moment that Pearl was born, she was placed under scrutiny. Pearl was created through an act of love shared between two people. During that time society considered this to be a sin because there was no social contract (marriage) between Hester and Dimmesdale that would have permitted them to have a baby. The townspeople see Pearl as a visible reminder of the sin committed and thought of her as evil. It was not long before her own mother began to search for evil within her as well. Pearl was described as the scarlet letter in another form: the scarlet letter endowed with life. (Hawthorne 103). With her fascination with the scarlet letter from an early age, Hester...