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Pearl: The Complexity of a Character

             Since Pearl is the living version of Hester's scarlet letter, she becomes its symbol, its double, and its agent. In all the descriptions of Pearl, her affinity with the scarlet letter is stressed: "it was the scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed with life" (102). Hester carefully dresses Pearl in clothing that mimics the color and embroidery of the letter; this gesture stresses the way Pearl is her mother's creation. The letter is represented in Pearl twice: once in her costume, which Hester has intentionally designed to resemble the letter, "lavishing many of morbid ingenuity, to create an analogy between the object of her affection, and the emblem of her guilt and torture" (102); and again in the child herself. .
             Pearl seems to have a special, original relation to the scarlet letter. She is not only the letter as Hester might conceive it, but its instrument in a scheme that is quite independent of her. It is Pearl's role to enforce the mother's guilt and represent her rebellion. She does this simply by making it impossible for Hester to forget the letter. As a baby, the letter is the first object that Pearl becomes aware of, and keeps it at the center of Hester's life. In the forest scene, Pearl becomes the enforcer of the letter during the one and only time that Hester throws the letter away. Oblivious to her mother's new charge of youth, beauty, and happiness, Pearl refuses to join her until the letter is returned to its usual place. She makes the readers constantly aware of her mother's scarlet letter and of the society that produced it. Pearl has been the letter's messenger and the letter's incarnation" and she has also been its victim. Her victimization is being denied a reality of her own. .
             As Pearl shares qualities with Hester, Pearl becomes a dynamic symbol of her mother. Like Hester, Pearl internalizes society, is badly viewed in the eyes of society, and is moody, passionate and mischievous.

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