How does Pearl feel towards Hester in The Scarlet Letter?

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Pearl loves her mother; Hester is, in fact, the only person in Pearl's life whom Pearl knows and trusts intimately, because the two of them live in relative isolation from the rest of the community. Though Pearl is rather impish and not particularly obedient, it is clear that her attachment...

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Pearl loves her mother; Hester is, in fact, the only person in Pearl's life whom Pearl knows and trusts intimately, because the two of them live in relative isolation from the rest of the community. Though Pearl is rather impish and not particularly obedient, it is clear that her attachment to her mother is sincere. For example, one day at the seashore, Pearl dresses herself as a mermaid and then "took some eel-grass, and imitated, as best she could, on her own bosom, the decoration with which she was so familiar on her mother's." Pearl goes on to gaze into her mother's "eyes with an earnestness that was seldom seen in her wild and capricious character." Pearl associates the scarlet letter with her mother because Hester, alone, wears it. Hester is kind and loving to Pearl, and no one else is, so it stands to reason that Pearl fixates on Hester's scarlet letter and sees it as something positive. This is why she seeks to imitate it. Have you ever heard the expression "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"? This certainly seems to apply here.

Later, when Hester and Pearl go into the woods so that Hester can speak with Dimmesdale in private, Pearl gets jealous of her mother's attention and basically throws a temper tantrum when she sees her mother without the scarlet letter. Pearl refuses to approach her mother or even to use language until her mother puts the letter back on her breast. Pearl's attachment to the scarlet letter, the one visible thing that sets her mother apart from everyone else in Boston, exists because of her attachment to her mother.

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Pearl loves her mother, but because of the circumstances of her birth, their relationship is complicated. As we learn in chapter 6 (an important place to find out more about Pearl), Pearl is stained by her mother's sin:

The mother's impassioned state had been the medium through which were transmitted to the unborn infant the rays of its moral life; and, however white and clear originally, they had taken the deep stains of crimson and gold, the fiery lustre, the black shadow, and the untempered light of the intervening substance.

Some of the passion and the poetry of romantic love that led her mother into an adulterous relationship with Dimmesdale has mysteriously transmitted itself to Pearl in the womb. Therefore, while innocent and very much a child of nature, she is also prickly and difficult to get along with; she often baffles her mother with her elfin or even seemingly perverse behavior. Her moods, as she was born with strong passions, can be variable and tempestuous: she is not the typical sweet and loving child. In chapter 19, we learn that she has a "shadowy and intangible quality."

Pearl has a fascination with her mother's scarlet letter, presumably because she has the passion the color scarlet represents in her soul. Hester often dresses her in red, as if to point to her as a child of sin.

Although Pearl has the "deep stains" of her mother's sin, the narrator shows his ambivalence about that "sin" by describing it with rich and sensuous images: it is "crimson and gold"; fire alternating with a rich blackness; the creative sensibility of the poet.

At the end of the novel, we learn that Pearl will transcend her past status as social outcast and odd child and accept her place in the social order. As the narrator tells us, she will not

forever do battle with the world, but be a woman in it

Pearl marries well, and though she and her mother live far apart, Pearl shows her love by sending her mother handmade and costly gifts.

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Pearl's relationship with her mother is complex and puzzling, the result of the circumstances of her birth and her life in the Puritan colony. Pearl loves her mother and sometimes treats her with affection and tenderness. However, at other times she taunts Hester and seems to take pleasure in causing her distress. Always, the little girl shows a persistent and recurring fascination with the scarlet letter Hester wears. Hawthorne writes that as an infant, Pearl's earliest association with and memory of her mother was focused on the letter.

Pearl is the unwitting victim of Hester and Arthur's transgression. She grows up as a social outcast, frequently tormented by other children, and lives in the same circle of isolation that surrounds Hester. Hers is a lonely existence, but she grows to embrace the loneliness, living in a world of her own and finding pleasure in solitary games and acts of creative imagination. Pearl is confused by all she does not understand, including her own parentage, and this confusion is often expressed in anger, much of it aimed at her mother. Only at the conclusion of the novel when she is publicly acknowledged and embraced by her father does Pearl become "a human child." The anger and "otherness" drops away as she weeps.

The end of the novel includes information about Pearl's life as a woman in England. She marries well and has her own child. Gifts that arrived for Hester from England imply that Pearl's love for her mother survived and surpassed her confusing and difficult childhood:

But, through the remainder of Hester's life, there were indications that the recluse of the scarlet letter was the object of love and interest with some inhabitant of another land. Letters came, with armorial seals upon them, though of bearings unknown to English heraldry. In the cottage there were articles of comfort and luxury, such as Hester never cared to use, but which only wealth could have purchased, and affection have imagined for her. There were trifles, too, little ornaments, beautiful tokens of a continual remembrance, that must have been wrought by delicate fingers, at the impulse of a fond heart.

At the end of Hester's life, her daughter loved her without reservation and would have welcomed her into her home in England had Hester been willing to leave her cottage by the sea.

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