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Pearl and the brook in Chapter 16 are very similar. Pearl notices the brook when sent off so her mother and Dimmesdale can have some privacy to talk about Chillingworth. Pearl feels that the brook is sad and decides to try to cheer it up. Pearl has much in common wit this brook, though - they both come from something mysterious and unknown, covered in real and metaphorical shadows. They also are more free than is revealed by the naked eye - they don't have to follow the rules. The brook may flow, unrestricted, wherever it pleases. The same is true for Pearl. She may reach her goals by whatever means are made available to her. She seeks the truth by asking the tough questions. She knows what she is, though, and knows where she came from even if most everyone else does not.
She and the brook are what Hawthorne considered to be ideal - free from the restrictions of societal expectation. Free to feel what they feel and think about it later.
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