Why is Hester's child named Pearl in The Scarlet Letter?

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Hester's naming her child Pearl is significant for a variety of reasons. They mainly deal with the themes of The Scarlet Letter as a whole. The name Pearl also reflects the complicated way Hester perceives her sudden motherhood and her child's peculiar character.

Pearl's name represents two contrasting elements of her character. On the one hand, she is the most important person in Hester's life. Hester is willing to do and sacrifice anything for her child. She also delights in Pearl's intelligence and energy. On the other hand, Pearl was born as a result of Hester's own indiscretion. The latter seems to point more towards Hester's choice of name, as pointed out by the text itself:

How strange it seemed to the sad woman, as she watched the growth, and the beauty that became every day more brilliant, and the intelligence that threw its quivering sunshine over the tiny features of this child! Her Pearl!—For so had Hester called her; not as a name expressive of her aspect, which had nothing of the calm, white, unimpassioned lustre that would be indicated by the comparison. But she named the infant “Pearl,” as being of great price,—purchased with all she had,—her mother's only treasure!

That Hester Prynne should name her illegitimate child Pearl is deeply ironic. Pearl's existence makes Hester's adultery common knowledge and leads to her expulsion from polite Puritan society. When Pearl grows into a child, she is mischievous and causes her mother no shortage of frustration, refusing to give the proper answers to religious questions posed by the town elders, for instance.

An additional irony is that Hester initially fears her child might turn out to have some wicked nature, due to the way which she was conceived:

God, as a direct consequence of the sin which man thus punished, had given her a lovely child, whose place was on that same dishonored bosom, to connect her parent forever with the race and descent of mortals, and to be finally a blessed soul in heaven! Yet these thoughts affected Hester Prynne less with hope than apprehension. She knew that her deed had been evil; she could have no faith, therefore, that its result would be good. Day after day, she looked fearfully into the child's expanding nature, ever dreading to detect some dark and wild peculiarity, that should correspond with the guiltiness to which she owed her being.

That any good could come out of her sin is inconceivable to Hester at first, just as it is to the town. The elders fear Pearl is doomed because she is being raised by a "wicked" mother and was conceived in the midst of an adulterous liaison. The other children single Pearl out and mock her. And yet, Pearl proves an exceptional child, wild yet certainly not evil.

The name Pearl takes on additional meanings at the end of the story, once Hester and her child leave the town for Europe. Pearl makes a good match on the continent and marries well. Her name reflects her fortunate state at that point.

In the end, Pearl allows Hester to mature as a person, becoming more generous and forgiving as a result of her being ostracized, and she gives her mother joy. Pearl grows to marry and find happiness elsewhere, showing that Hester's sin did not lead entirely to misery and wickedness, but redemption and love as well, tying into the novel's themes about grace.

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Why does Hester name her child Pearl? Of what might the name be symbolic?

I believe that early in the novel it is explained that Hester named her daughter Pearl as an allusion to a parable in the New Testament, which I quote here from Matthew 13:45-46 in the King James Bible:

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Hester has had to give up a great deal for the sake of her little girl, but she considers it worth the sacrifice because her daughter is so precious to her. The little girl does indeed seem like a pearl because she is beautiful and angelic. It is ironic that such a lovely child should be regarded as a source of shame and disgrace. She compensates with Hester for the ostracism and humiliation she has to endure, which is symbolized by the scarlet letter she is forced to wear.

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Why does Hester name her child Pearl? Of what might the name be symbolic?

A pearl is a gemstone characterized as rare, precious and valuable. It is the result of an irritant (namely, a grain of sand) entering the mantle of a living mollusk (typically, an oyster.) In essence, the oyster is taking something otherwise irritable and turning it into a thing of beauty and value. While Hester's clandestine relationship, once exposed through her pregnancy, is something that causes irritation and anger throughout the community, the arrival of her precious daughter Pearl brought her the joy that only a parent can understand. Pearl was her pride and joy, the beautiful thing that resulted despite her sin. 

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Why did Hawthorne choose the name Pearl for Hester's child?

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's famous novel The Scarlet Letter, the protagonist, Hester Prynne, gives the name Pearl to the daughter she has out of wedlock.  In Chapter 6, the novel's narrator tells the reader that Hester names her daughter Pearl

not as a name expressive of her aspect, which had nothing of the calm, white, unimpassioned lustre that would be indicated by the comparison. But she named the infant "Pearl," as being of great price--purchased with all she had--her mother's only treasure.

Here, the reader is clearly informed that the choice of names is no mere coincidence, but is very much intended to be seen as symbolism. 

As you probably know, a pearl is formed when an irritant enters the shell of an oyster.  In order to protect itself from the foreign object, the oyster coats it with layers of the same material of which its shell is made.  In order for a pearl to be discovered and collected, the oyster must give up its life.

While Hester does not sacrifice her physical life in The Scarlet Letter, her conception of a child outside of wedlock forces her to give up her personal life; Hester refuses to tell who Pearl's father is and must live without the comfort of an open relationship with Reverend Dimmesdale.  She also relinquishes her social life and must wear the scarlet "A" every day.  While Hester loves Pearl dearly and does consider her her most precious treasure, she also sacrifices her happiness for her daughter.

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