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A for Adultery

There are a select amount of extremely important characters within the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Pearl is one of those characters, and Chapter Six of the novel is an in depth description of her character by Hawthorne. This chapter creates the overall picture of Pearl as a person. Pearl is revealed to be an ill-behaved child, whose wild personality reflects the wicked sins that led to her conception in the first place. She is a symbol of the act of adultery, sinful and evil. Hawthorne states, "Pearl was worthy to have been brought forth in Eden; worthy to have been left there, to be the plaything of the angels..." She "...lacked reference and adaptation to the world into which she was born." Within Chapter Six, the reader is shown Pearl at the age of three, and he/she discovers that Pearl possesses a "rich and luxuriant beauty; a beauty that shone with deep and vivid tints; a bright complexion, eyes possessing

intensity both of depth and glow, and hair already of a deep, glossy brown and which, in after years, would be nearly akin to black." The reader then discovers that Pearl has a "perfect shape", "vigor", "natural dexterity", and "a native grace". It is also learned that in public Pearl is usually dressed in "gorgeous robes which might have extinguished a paler loveliness." Pearl is described as intelligent, imaginative, inquisitive, determined, and even stubborn. She is a combination of moods, given to unrestrained laughter at one moment, which turns into silence the next, also with a violent rage and a capability for the "bitterest hatred that can be supposed to rankle in a childish bosom". Governor Bellingham compares Pearl to the "children of the Lord of Misrule", and some of the community believe that she is a "demon offspring". Using Wikipedia as a source, the website explains that the older Puritan communities thought sex without marriage (i.e. adultery) to be malevolent and influenced by demons.

Because Pearl is a creation of Hesters non-marital sex, the author brings up the subject of Pearl's true personality. Hawthorne is simply asking the question as to if something good could possibly come from something sinful, and if she was born as the Puritans see as evil, does that inherently make Pearl evil. The authors attitude toward Pearl can be found within his word choice. He uses a multitude of words to hint his overall feeling toward his creation. Hawthorne uses words such as luxuriance, beauty, brilliant, calm, treasure, lovely, blessed, perfect, prettiness, young and radiance, which greatly show the authors warm, loving attitude toward the child.