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What does Pearl inform her mother in chapter six of The Scarlet Letter?  

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lizbuller | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:50 PM via web

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What does Pearl inform her mother in chapter six of The Scarlet Letter?
 

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 1, 2012 at 1:24 PM (Answer #1)

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In Chapter six of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, "Hester at Her Needle", Pearl tells her mother that she (Pearl) has no heavenly father.

At this point in the novel, Pearl has grown old enough to act in the childish, and fiendish ways that children act with their mothers. However, Pearl is different. Her eyes have a look of strange malice that seems to target directly at Hester. This is because Pearl is meant to be an extension of Hester, and Hester's symbol of guilt and sin.

Pearl's strange behavior often prompts Hester to ask her daughter "half-playfully"

Tell me, then, what thou art, and who sent thee hither?

However, this is a bad call from Hester's part because Pearl is all about conflict and, for this reason, she quickly answers back

Tell me, mother!” said the child, seriously, coming up to Hester, and pressing herself close to her knees. “Do thou tell me!

This is a clear dig at Hester, who now would have to find a way to either deflect the situation, or face it head on and explain who is Pearl's father. Instead of making any of these choices, Hester makes up the answer that it was God, the "heavenly father" who actually sent Pearl to her. To this answer, Pearl retorts

He did not send me!” cried she positively. “I have no Heavenly Father!"

Hester's punishment is meant to be lived through Pearl and her consistent reminder of the sin which Hester and Dimmesdale committed together.

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