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The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne
Summary Key Questions and Answers
Summary Key Questions and Answers

4) How does Pearl react when she first sees her mother without the scarlet A?

When Hester and Dimmesdale meet in the forest, she impulsively takes off the letter and throws it away. When Pearl sees her mother without the letter, she reacts by screaming and crying until Hester puts the letter back on. As Hester explains, “Pearl misses something which she has always seen me wear.” Pearl’s reaction shows that Hester cannot simply escape from her past: her identity is entangled with being the woman who bears the scarlet letter, and it may not be possible for her to adopt a new identity.