What does the scarlet letter mean to Pearl in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter?

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In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the scarlet letter that her mother is forced to wear on her dress is a source of fascination to Pearl. As a young infant, she touches the letter inquisitively and finds it amusing. However, it eventually comes to mean ostracism by the local townspeople to Pearl, while at the same time, it teaches her humility and gives her the strong desire to be happy despite the sorrow that exists in the world.

Hawthorne tells us that the scarlet letter was the first object that Pearl becomes aware of.

One day, as her mother stooped over the cradle, the infant's eyes had been caught by the glimmering of the gold embroidery about the letter; and, putting up her little hand, she grasped at it, smiling, not doubtfully, but with a decided gleam, that gave her face the look of a much older child.

However, because of what the letter represents, the Puritans in their small town believe that Pearl “was of demon origin.” They do not know who Pearl’s father is. They...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 1258 words.)

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