In The Scarlet Letter, how is Pearl's wild and anti-social behavior explained?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is Chapter Six in which we are given our first thorough introduction to Pearl and the way that she has grown and developed. It is here that we are told about Hester's anxiety that her daughter, coming from such an illicit union, will be dominated by some "wild peculiarity." We are assured that physically, at least, she is as perfect as if "she had been brought forth in Eden," but that in her character there is a worrying tendency that suggests that she "lacks reference and adaptation to the world into which she was born." The narrator goes on to explain why this has occurred:

In giving her existence, a great law had been broken, and the result was a being whose elements were perhaps beautiful and brilliant, but all in disorder; or with an order peculiar to themselves, amidst which the point of variety and arrangement was difficult or impossible to be discovered.

Thus, befitting her status as a child sprung out of the "natural" order of things, Pearl is shown to be a character who does not fit into her society well.

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