Biblical Motif Loss of Innocence

John Sloan’s Hairdress Window

The Bible generally teaches virtues such as respect, innocence, and, of course, loss of innocence. The Garden of Eden is a wonderful example of innocence, and how it slips away so easily. This is a bible passage about how God created living beings, God created Adam, the father of life, He created animals to fit Adam’s liking, and he created plant life to do so as well. Lastly, God took a rib from Adam, and created Eve the mother of life. Without the presence, and influence of evil this sylvan way of life was innocent. For these two God provides life and bounties; however, Adam and Eve betrayed that by eating from the forbidden apple tree. With all good, comes evil, and the Devil took form in a serpent that persuaded Eve to eat from the forbidden tree.  Therefore, with the presence of evil the loss of innocence takes place.

This is easily comparable to the innocent life of Pearl, from The Scarlet Letter. Pearl finds comfort in the innocence of the forest. Although she comes from very “sinful” roots, Pearl, as a little girl is an innocent being; however, she serves a reminder to her mother that she has sinned. When Hester, Pearl, and Arthur Dimmesdale are in the woods together, Hester and Dimmesdale are in a state of trance confessing their concealed love for each other, while Pearl is playing amongst the trees and grass enjoying her innocent days. Just as evil corrupted Eve, Dimmesdale attempts to make a connection with his daughter; however, Pearl sensed the evil in his welcome, and therefore, did not accept him, and stayed amongst the tree’s God created. It seems as though God gave Pearl to Hester, because Hester never knew innocence, and Pearl’s perfect, and bubbly personality is an example of how beautiful it is to be a part of something pure.


God gave Adam, and Eve innocence however they betrayed him by letting the Devil deceive them. This shows the lure of evil is more captivating than remaining pure. Hester lost her innocence for a different reason; she was unhappy in her marriage, and found happiness in sinning. Hester absorbed Pearl’s perfect purity throughout her life, regaining her purity; Pearl gave Hester a reason to be happy, therefore, pure. This could be related to Adam and Eve’s loss of innocence because they lost their innocence out of discomfort in their lives. They were both hungry, however, restless; therefore, it was easy for the serpent to lure them into eating the forbidden fruit. Adam, and Eve then tried to regain their righteousness by pledging their purity, and honesty to God.

See also Holden in Catcher in the Rye.
See also Ophelia in Hamlet
See also Newland Archer in The Age of Innocence.

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