"the letter A,—but freshly green, instead of scarlet"

Whereas scarlet figures passion and sexuality and is a biblical cipher for sin, the color green has a much more positive register of associations. It stands for hope, nature, youth and freshness. In the Bible, it is linked with blessed forms of sexual love (the Song of Solomon sees the narrator woo his darling with the line, “Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green” (1:16)). Pearl’s recreation of the scarlet letter in this color is at once an unkind taunt to her mother that reinforces its censorious role and a transformative act that reverses its meaning.