The Sunshine (The Scarlet Letter, Ch. 15-16)

“Mother,” said little Pearl, “the sunshine does not love you.  It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on you 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.

Hester is in a really difficult place with Pearl at this part in the novel.  Hester wants, more than anything, to be able to tell Pearl everything and have her as a friend, but knows that, as a child, Pearl can’t handle all of this information.  Pearl spent the majority of the last chapter begging Hester for more information, and we saw Hester being internally tormented, as she did not know what to do.

Hester made what seems to be the correct decision, to not tell Pearl the whole truth about the Scarlet Letter.  One thing that is a little startling, is the fact that Pearl was able to connect Hester’s letter with the fact that Mr. Dimmesdale has his hand over his heart constantly.  Although, if you think about it, Pearl has witness very many different sketchy situations with Hester and Mr. Dimmesdale, so it is not that hard to conceive that she would make the connection.

The way that Pearl says that the sunshine is afraid of Hester’s letter seems to reflect the rest of the universe’s reaction to it as well.  The sunshine could even be a metaphor for the people around Hester, even though they are slowly starting to become more fond of her.  Despite this though, Hester still is wearing her letter and feels completely ostracized because of it, and she should, because she is completely ostracized because of it.

Even though it is not explored too deeply in the book, Hester has a very deep sadness about her mainly because of the way the village treats her.  Although at the onset of this whole fiasco, she thought that forgiveness was an option, now it’s possible that all the negativity of the people has gotten to her.  This can be seen just a few lines after the initial quotation:

“Run away, child,” answered her mother, “and catch the sunshine.  It will soon be gone.”

Foreshadowing! I feel like Hester’s gloom is starting to get very difficult on her, which is probably why she so seriously considered explaining her whole situation to Pearl.  If she was able to and could openly discuss her issues, it might help her feel better.  Communication is key, but unfortunately, also not an option.

-Paulie 🙂


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