How is Pearl a symbol of nature in The Scarlet Letter?I'm trying to make a research paper over the Scarlet Letter based on how Pearl is a symbol of nature. Now since most people see Pearl as a...

How is Pearl a symbol of nature in The Scarlet Letter?

I'm trying to make a research paper over the Scarlet Letter based on how Pearl is a symbol of nature. Now since most people see Pearl as a symbol of sin (and not nature or both), it's hard to find internet sources over this particular topic. Can anyone help? And, if possible, can you give me the source where the information was found?

Expert Answers
clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm not sure that you want to say Pearl is symbolic of nature - but perhaps you could tweak this thesis to say that her symbolism is often represented by nature.  If you wish to stray from the idea that she is symbolic of sin - you could take the otherside and say she is actually symbolic of truth and purity.

I would start with the description of the rosebush in chapter 1.  This rosebush is certainly meant to be symbolic - different ideas include that it is the last beautiful thing that the prisoners see before being punished and that it is symbolic of life and hope.  Consider that in chapter 8, when Rev. Wilson asks her "Who made you," Pearl answers, "I was not made at all.  I was plucked from the rosebush that grows beside the prison door."  This could be your key line and the foundation for your argument.

Another example of nature representing Pearl's symbolic meaning is the scene in chapter 6 (well, there's probably a lot you could find in chapter 6) where Pearl playfully covers the scarlet letter on her mother's bosom with wildflowers.  Pearl herself, grows and acts much like a wildflower.  Later - in chapter 16 there is evidence of the sunshine following her.

So, again, I don't know that you can make a compelling argument that Pearl is symbolic of nature - but certainly nature plays a role in revealing that she is symbolic of purity and truth.

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The Scarlet Letter

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