October 6, 2004

How young is too young?

An interesting discussion broke out in class that (I being so quiet didn't comment on) was very interesting. Someone askeda question pertaining to chapter 15 of "The Scarlet Letter", by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Why wouldn't Hester answer Pearl's questions about the Scarlet A and Dimmesdale. A few people , including Lori, suggestede that Perl was too young to know what the A meant and that she would not understand it and keep asking more questions. I'm not sure if any of you remember when you were 7, but 7year olds are pretty intelligent.

I work at the SHU kindergarten, where most of the children are 5 or 6 years old. These kids baffle me sometimes with their knowledge and comprehension of societal concepts. A few of the children come from broken homes with step-mothers , step-fathers, and step-siblings. They understand why their families are the way they are because their parents took the time to sit down with them and explain ,in a way they would understand , the situation. With children the best policy is honesty because if you lie to them, and the truth is revealed its very likely you will lose a sense of trust with them.

I know a kid who had a different dad than his sister, but never knew. His mother did not tell him his father , whom he lived with all his life, was not his real dad. He wasn't told this information untill high school! I cannot even imagine going through my life not knowing that it was not my real father. It caused real problems in the family and he eventually left for the army.

In The Scarlet Letter, Pearl is seven years old and fairly intelligent. She often makes references and conclusions about the fact that Dimmesdale puts his hand over his heart, the same place where Hester wears the Scarlet A, every time he sees Hester and Pearl. Even though kids may not say anything , they pick up and recognize situations you might be trying to hide.
All this discussion about the fact that some peoplet thought Hester should have told Pearl the truth, what do you think would have happened if Hester really did confide the truth in Pearl? Would it have made a difference in the story or how Perl saw her mother and Dimmesdale?

Posted by ErinManko at October 6, 2004 8:22 PM

Hey Er,
Well you know how much I think Hester should of told Pearl the truth! But to answer your questions I think Pearl would of known who her father was and probably would want to persue a relationship with her father, which would of led Dimmesdale in a bad situation. But maybe Dimmesdale would of got his act together and told the truth sooner and actually had time to be with Hester and Pearl. I do think that Pearl wouldn't of had true hatred towards Dimmesdale because she was so young. After coming up with all of these scenarios my head hurts..lol!!! I def. do not think it would of changed how she saw her mother because she was young but I think it would of changed how she viewd her father. She could of felt hurt or maybe even happy because know she knew.

Posted by: Gina at October 6, 2004 10:50 PM

I agree that she should have told her the truth. I think if she had, since Perl was so young, she would have wanted to have a relationship with Dimmesdale, but if she were older she may have been resentful? Either way, Perl deserved to know the truth.

Posted by: Erin at October 7, 2004 8:52 PM

I dont recall saying that Pearl ought to NEVER know the truth, i just don't think she should be told now..i think there is a more appropriate time for things.

Posted by: Lori at October 8, 2004 12:50 AM

Little ones often know much more than we give them credit for. They can be so much more perceptive and sometimes when we "adults" talk about things near children thinking they won't understand, little do we know that they comprehend and learn so much from their surroundings.

And you're correct about lying to children--eventually all lies catch up with the liar anyway, but lying to a child can cause more damage than is directly forseeable, as in the case with your friend and his father.

Posted by: Karissa Kilgore at October 9, 2004 12:59 PM

I think young children are really smart because although we take them to just be around, they absorb everything they hear and they're able to understand it somewhat.

We know from context that Pearl is already more intellegent than normal and also she was always seeking for Dimmesdale to own up to his actions.

She deserved to know what was going on. She would have understood.
I don't necessarily think she should be told what the exact definition of adultery is but she should know the relationship between her mother and Dimmesdale.

Posted by: anonymous at April 17, 2007 8:48 PM
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