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Good Arises From Unexpected Situations

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 971
  • Category: Symbolism

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In every country, every city, every house, each person in the human race faces a life-changing problem that ends up being saving one’s life. This is seen in Hawthorne’s The Scarlett Letter, where Hester is punished for her sin and the symbols that throw her off of society’s circle are adapted to represent her in a preferable way. The two symbols that represent her sin of adultery are pearl and the Scarlett letter. As the transformation of pearl and the Scarlet letter appear, they reveal the theme of good resulting from bad. These symbols illustrate Hawthorne’s belief that Hester contradicts and proves that there is no definite line between a wonderful and an awful aspect of life, which were set by the puritan women. While being obliged to wear the Scarlett Letter with pearl in her arms, Hester is humiliated and embarrassed in front of puritan Boston. This dull moment displays the introduction to the two symbols that are related to Hester. She is then told that the Scarlett letter must be worn at all times due it’s representation her sin of adultery, which was discovered when she became pregnant while her husband was living abroad.

The minute Hester begins to wear the Scarlett letter she destroys “the ordinary relations with humanity,” and she is “[inclosed] in a sphere by herself “ (Hawthorne, 40). Giving up her place in the Puritan society causes Hester to a live a lonely life that is cut off from society. Society’s hatred was later emphasized through the women not wanting Hester to “come off with such a sentence as the worshipful magistrates have awarded” her (page. 38). This abusive notation underlines the Scarlet letter’s representation of Hester’s sin of adultery and the change of her social life consequences from her sin. Pearl, the child of Hester and the other symbol in the first scaffold scene, symbolizes the outcome of her sins. Pearl is thought of as the living interpretation of the Scarlett letter thus representing her mother’s sins; this is illustrated through Pearl being the outcome of her mother ‘s sin. In the early stages of Pearl’s life, she did not “ [create] a friend” and was ignored and looked upon by other children (66).

Thus revealing a lost “ battle” with her “ armed enemies” (66). The hate towards her mother takes a toll on Pearl’s life and is obligated to endure the hatred from the children of the community, or her enemies. The symbols soon begin to alter to emphasize the development of Hester and Pearl’s life. Although the Scarlet Letter and Pearl are symbols of dark and evil, their representation begins to evolve into something more positive, they begin to alter. Hester is trying to convince the ministers that pearl is the “child of its father’s guilt and its mother’s shame hath come from the hand of god…It was meant for a blessing; for the one blessing of her life!”(79). Hester’s shocking announcement begins to describe how pearl went from being the product of her father’s guilt and her mother’s shame to becoming the sole reason for Hester’s life. This change begins to reveal that even though pearl is a product of sin and she becomes a symbol of good through her representation of love, which is how she was created by Hester and her father, Reverend Dimmesdale. There is also a change in representation of the Scarlett letter.

Instead of the letter “A” symbolizing the adultery, many people began to interpret the Scarlet Letter as a representation of “able” (110). The change of representation of the Scarlet letter exhibits a shift between bad and good, thus supporting the theme, of good resulting from bad. After several years, the change of these symbols begins to inspire the reader. These two symbols carry on their transformation to become the reverse of the original meaning. A few years later, the Scarlet letter becomes part of Hester’s identity and pearl lives a life without any social agonies. Many years later, when Hester returns and sets up the scarlet letter again, it than “[becomes] a type of something to be sorrowed over, and looked upon with awe, yet with reverence too” (177). Thereby revealing how the representation of the Scarlet letter becomes a symbol of acceptance and her identity is greatly respected while her presence is truly accepted. Hawthorne’s technique of foreshadowing is than noticed as she becomes an heiress and is rich therefore justifying the reason of her name, pearl.

The word pearl is usually associated with the jewels that are produced from the oyster, which are very expensive and regarded as a selective type of jewelry. Thus the interpretation of the pearl illustrates the richness of pearl through her inheritance, her selectivity and specialty as a person and as a daughter. The interpretation also clearly state that The two most important symbols that appear throughout the book do not only reveal a theme of good can comes from bad, but also that the puritan women’s line between good and bad does not exist. The Scarlet Letter went from representing adultery to representing Hester’s identity while generating great respect towards her. Pearl as a symbol changes throughout the book from being the work of sin, to Hester’s only happiness in life, to a life full of love and money. These changes from bad to good demonstrate Hawthorne’s disagreement to the view of the puritan women. The puritan women believed there is a distinct line between good and bad while having Hester as an example not to follow. Hawthorne’s contradiction verifies the idea that nothing can be only wonderful or only awful. His contradiction also proves that in life, one must look past the awful situation and concentrate on the good because nothing will only be wonderful or only awful.

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