I'm doing a research paper on Pearl in The Scarlet Letter. I need suggestions of what direction to actually go within my paper?
Another aspect of Pearl's character that is interesting is that she seems wise beyond her years. Why is this? Is it due to her parentage? The way she is raised by Hester? Because she is raised in that society? For example, when she insists that her mother put her A back on, she seems to speaking as the adults in the town would. What is that saying about children and what shapes them?
I am most fascinated by the contrast between Pearl before her father dies and after she kisses him at the end of his life. Hawthorne compares it to a spell being broken, and that appears to be accurate based on what we hear of her life after she and Hester leave America. This transformation seems instantaneous, and the kiss is a culmination of a complex relationship between Hester and Arthur--another area which would make an interesting study.
Pearl, as Hawthorne narrates, is the incarnation of Hester's sin. So, the best approach to writing about Pearl is the consideration of her not as a character as Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth are characters; but as a symbol.
To assist you, there have been several questions on Pearl. Here are a few sites that you can visit for examinations of Pear as symbol:
The best advice that I would suggest is for you to explore the character of Pearl as an extension of Hester's hidden sins and passions.
Pearl is a child conceived out of wedlock and possibly under what could have been deemed as an adulterous situation. To top things up her birth put her biological father, Reverend Dimmesdale, in direct conflict with his entire church. Moreover, Pearl's conception was the causative factor of her mother's imprisonment, her isolation, and her social stigma. Think about this, had Pearl not been conceived, would there have been any issues? Hence, Pearl is a character that should be analyzed from the fact that her entire existence is an equal agent of chaos in the lives of Chillingworth, Dimmesdale, and Hester.
Not only is she a symbol of chaos, but she also acts like one. It is almost as if Pearl has a pre-disposition to punish her mother, and disclose the truths of those around her. However, does she know supernaturally that her presence is a disturbance in the life of her parents? Was her conception a divine punishment for Hester? If it was, is Pearl somehow aware of this?
Therefore, if you are going to study Pearl as a reflection of Hester's inner sins, include how she influenced Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth equally, and focus on how she seems to be a "planned" intervention by something supernatural aiming to disclose Dimmesdale and punish Hester. You may also conclude that Pearl also brought divine justice to a very painful situation caused by human weakness.