How did Pearl answer the question about who had made her in The Scarlet Letter?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When the minister asks Pearl who made her, Pearl doesn't want to tell him at first.  She knows what her mother has told her -- that she was a child of God and that God had made her.  But for whatever reason, she didn't want to say that.

Instead, after stalling for awhile, she tells the minister that her mother had picked her off a rose bush that stood near the door of the prison.

After she answers in this way, the authorities want to take her away from Hester.  But Dimmesdale persuades them to let Pearl stay with her mother.

mkcapen1 | Student

Pearl and Hester are called to the Governor's Hall before a group of men who want to remove Pearl from her mother's care.  They fear for the girl's salvation as she is being raised by a woman tarnished by her sin of adultery.   Pearl is a mere child who demonstrates the characteristics of a mischievous child.  She sees roses before she goes in to talk with the men and focuses her attention and demands on getting one.  Hester tries to stop her from crying, but Pearl continues to cry for a rose.  Pearl is very angry at her mother trying to calm her.  She lets out a loud scream and is silent. 

Shortly after her tantrum Hester and Pearl meet with the Governor, Reverend Dimmsdale, Mr. Wilson, and Roger Chillingsworth.  The men begin to question who Pearl is to the child.  She adamantly tells them she is her mother's child.   They are a bit shocked when they realize that Pearl is Hester's child, the child whose future lies in question. 

Mr. Wilson asks Pearl:

"Canst thou tell me, my child, who made thee?"

Pearl knew of her Heavenly Father because her mother had told her of him.  She was only three years old. 

  "her three years of a lifetime"

She tells them that she had not been made at all but had been:

 "plucked by her mother off the bush of wild roses that grew by the prison door."

Pearl had behaved like a young child feeling nervous and insecure but at the same time in recall of the very thing her mother had denied her. 


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The Scarlet Letter

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