Hawthorne uses symbolism in The Scarlet Letter to offer a hidden meaning, or a deeper insight into his characters. Some symbols reveal inner feelings of the characters, while others show the reader double meanings to events or objects in the story. Two examples are Pearl, as well as the Forest.
Pearl symbolizes many things in The Scarlet Letter. Pearl is the living proof of the adultery between Hester and Dimmesdale making her the living scarlet letter. Pearl also symbolizes punishment for Hester. First of all the name Pearl means of great price the way Hester's life was ruined was the ultimate price that Hester paid for Pearl. With Pearl, Hester's life was ruined with constant nagging about odd questions about the scarlet letter. Pearl would also harass her mother over the scarlet "A" which she wore, and would make her own "A" to wear, sometimes she played games with her mother's, trying to hit it with rocks. When Hester would go into the town with Pearl, the other children would make fun of her, and Pearl would yell and throw dirt at them. "So, in this case, Pearl symbolized the decimation of Hester's life and mental state."".
The forest is a symbol of freedom. Nobody ever watched the forest as a place of misbehavior, which is why people went there to do what they wanted. "The forest serves Hester as a refuge from the judgmental society."" At first, the forest is shown as a bad place. The Black Man roams the forest trying to get people, "to write their names with their own blood in a big heavy book, with iron clasp to fasten its pages shut."" In the forest, the rules of society do not apply. This allows for misbehavior, when as Hester lets her hair down and takes off her scarlet "A"". As a result, the lawless forest comes to represent evil and temptation, while the actions that take place in the forest reveal peace and freedom. The forest shields people and their actions from the eyes of the town.