In the Scarlet letter, what does the author say is remarkable about Pearl and her clothes?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Because of Hester's natural ability at the needle, she uses it by lavishing outrageous garments on little Pearl. These clothes went entirely against the Puritan tenet of austerity and the vow of poverty and humbleness that makes them stand out. Pearl dresses in vivid colors, using shiny silks and with outrageous patterns all the time. Her flamboyant clothes, combined with her wild personality, make her stand out from everyone. Among many other descriptors, Hawthorne compares Pearl to an exotic bird.

However, in chapter 7, Hester dresses up Pearl with a very unique robe. 

A crimson velvet tunic, of a peculiar cut, abundantly embroidered with fantasies and flourishes of gold thread.

After the raucous behavior that Pearl displays at the mansion, the things that she says to the people, and the awkward nature of her demeanor, it is clear that this child is there to remind to her mother forever of her sins. In the past, the little girl has mocked her mother, disobeyed her, kept her from sleep, and she continuously makes a point to remind her of the scarlet letter. Ironically, in her conversation with the governor, Hester claims that the letter is like Pearl in that they have both taught her many lessons. This is when Hawthorne makes what is perhaps one of the most interesting statements about Pearl,

It was the scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed with life!

Theerefore, Hawthorne believes that Pearl is Hester's sin, living and breathing, reminding her forever (like a curse) of what she has done.

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