Academic Article: The Character of Flame

The Character of Flame: The Function of Pearl in The Scarlet Letter by Anne Marie McNamara

Although Hawthorne uses Hester as the main character in The Scarlet Letter, this paper will use Dimmesdale’s story to prove that the story is primarily about him.

The main character in The Scarlet Letter is typically associated with Hester Prynne since she is the one that had a child out of wedlock, is turned from society, and is forced to wear the scarlet letter A. However, the novel is primarily about Dimmesdale’s story, not Hesters. In The Character of Flame: The Function of Pearl in The Scarlet Letter. Although the happenings through the book are based around Hester’s scarlet letter, there is another character that many forget to consider as a key character throughout the story. Hester did not have the child on her own, it was a two man job and the other person involved was reverend Dimmesdale. The story works its way through the lives of Dimmesdale, Chillingsworth, and Hester and show the development in each character but what makes Dimmesdale a key character is his relationship with Pearl and the final act. Hawthorne shows the importance within Pearl from the beginning of the book to the end. It is the fact that Pearl and Dimmesdale have a relationship that elicits change that highlights Dimmesdale’s importance as well and separates him.”Since it’s obvious that neither Hester nor Chillingsworth constitutes an external cause for Dimmesdale’s volte face, it seems reasonable to insider the possibility that Pearl may be the agent who effects his unexpected public confession of paternity” (McNamara 537). That is why the relationship between Pearl and Dimmesdale becomes so important.



via Academic Article.

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