Hester's Loss of Sunshine

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The Scarlet Letter
Chapter 14-21
    "'Mother,' said little Pearl, 'the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom.  Now see!  There it is, playing, a good way off.  Stand you here, and let me run and catch it.  I am but a child.  It will not flee from me, for I wear nothing on my bosom yet!' 
    'Nor ever will, my child, I hope,' said Hester. 
    'And why not, mother?' asked Pearl, stopping short, just a the beginning of her race.  'Will not it come of its own accord, when I am a woman grown?'
    'Run away, child,' answered her mother, 'and catch the sunshine!  It will soon be gone.'"(Hawthorne 165-166)

    This is a long quote but it shows a great importance in showing where Pearl stands.  She once again is concerned with the A that is on her mothers chest.  She thinks that when she grows up she will have to wear one also.  She doesn't know the true reason on why her mother has the scarlet A.  She was too young to know what was going on when her mother stood on the scaffold as a punishment.  She realizes that there is something up but she doesn't exactly know why or what. 
    Another thing about this quote is that Pearl sees the lack of sunshine in her mother's life.  She sees that sunshine runs away from her mother.  This could be a metaphor for the people and things in her life not just the sun.  People run away from her because she has sinned.  Pearl often sees things that others do not see and just bluntly says the truth.  She is an innocent girl that doesn't really understand the basis of what is going on.

2 Comments

I think you bring up some great points. I also think Pearl is a really intuitive seven year old. I think the lack of sunshine might also be a metaphor for all the secrets in this book. The secrets kept them in a cloud of lies.

Jamie,thank you for the metaphor which was very obvious but I failed to see it as I read. I simple pictured the small child running ahead of her mother to catch the sunshine before the passing clouds took it away. But yet again Pearl is showing she is wiser beyond her years. As Gladys mentioned "the secrets kept them in a cloud of lies." These clouds have kept away the sun through out Hawthorne's story.

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This page contains a single entry by JamieGrace published on September 12, 2009 4:16 PM.

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