Chapter 6 – Pearl
Pearl is a larger than life little girl of three years, and the fact that
Hester sews for her elaborate dresses, only goes to enhance her spirited behavior.
Hester has great difficulty controlling her and has tried different methods
to make her conform. She can be best described as a loving, mischievous imp. However, she is Hester’s constant companion.
On occasions when they are out together walking and they come across village
children, they will hurl abuse at Hester and Pearl, copying their parents’ actions. However, Pearl will drive them away with stones and verbal abuse, like a whirlwind.
The scarlet A on her mother’s clothing strangely fascinates Pearl, and
sometimes Hester is concerned that an evil spirit possesses Pearl. She constantly presses Hester to tell her where she came from.
In Hawthorne’s narration of the tale, he makes it plain that Pearl’s
character is directly related to the sin that brought about her existence. She is, therefore, a product of an act of adultery, an act of love, which were a sin and a crime.
One must understand that to the Puritan community, extra-marital sex was
behavior that stemmed from the devil, and that Pearl is a product of this unholy union.
In defiance of this opinion, Hawthorne raises the interesting question – can something good come from something evil? The answer to this will not be evident until the last Chapter.
The reader may be surprised that Hester decides to stay in the district.
Perhaps she wishes to be close to the one she loves. Maybe it is to show the townspeople that good can come out of evil. What Hester hopes is that her lovely child will eventually be a blessed soul in heaven.