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Chapter 1 The Prison Door 1. What colony is the setting for the novel? Boston, Massachusetts 2.

Where in the colony does the opening chapter take place? Outside the prison door 3. For what 2 practical necessities did the new colony set aside land? A cemetery and a jail the implications of which suggest that two things that must be expected in life are death and sin 4. What 2 possible symbols does the rose have for the reader? The rose suggests goodness, a possibility for hope for the sinners who walk out of the dark door of the prison cell or perhaps pity for the criminal as he or she walks through the prison door. NOTE: Anne Hutchinson was a prominent religious leader in Boston who preached that faith, rather than good works and abidance by religious law, brought one closer to God. After trying Hutchinson for heresy, the Church banished and ultimately excommunicated her. She moved to Rhode Island and later to Long Island, where she and her family were slaughtered by Native Americans, except for one daughter, who was abducted. The implied connection between Hutchinson and Hester Prynne foreshadows Hesters reveries, when the worlds law, a law in this time period rooted deeply in religious law, becomes no law for her mind. Chapter 2 The Market-Place 1. What is the relationship between religion and law in Puritan New England? a people amongst whom religion and law were almost identical, and in whose character both were so thoroughly interfused 2. Describe the Puritan women. Use one quote from the book to support your answer. The older Puritan women tended to be harsher with regards to religion and law. Morally, as well as materially, there was a coarser fibre in those wives and maidens of old English birth and breeding, than in their fair descendents, separated from them by a series of six or seven generations; for, throughout the chain of ancestry, every successive mother has transmitted to her child a fainter bloom, a more delicate and briefer beauty, and a slighter physical frame, if not a character of less force and solidity, than her own. 3. What punishments would the Puritan women have given Hester Prynne if it were left to them? The contrast between generations of women becomes apparent in the discussion between the old women as they await Hesters coming through the prison door. The older women suggest that Hesters sentence is too light, and they believe that had she been forced to seek punishment from them rather than the male magistrates, she would have received a punishment that included branding or death. The younger wives and mothers, however, suggest that no matter how the mark appears be it fabric or flesh or even if Hester attempts to hide the mark, the pang of it will be always in her heart. 4. Describe the appearance of Hester Prynne. Tall A figure of perfect elegance A larger woman Dark, abundant, glossy hair Rich complexion Lady-like Deep black eyes Dignified Dress showing a despereate recklessness of her mood with a scarlet A embroidered fantastically on her bodice


What is Hesters sin? Punishment? Adultery; she must wear the scarlet A on her chest for the rest of her life and stand upon the scaffold for public humiliation


Describe the A on Hesters chest. On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A. It was so artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy, that it had all the effect of a last and fitting decoration to the apparel which she wore; and which was of a splendor in accordance with the taste of the age, but greatly beyond what was allowed by the sumptuary regulations of the colony.


What things does Hester think about while she is on the scaffold? She remembers her fathers face, with its bald brow, and reverend white beard and her mothers, with the look of heedful and anxious lovewhichhad so often laid the impediment of a gentle remonstrance in her daughters pathway. She also recalls her own face, glowing with girlish beauty, and illuminating all the interior of the dusky mirror in which she had been wont to gaze at it. She remembers, also, the home in which she and her parents lived in Old England which was a decayed house of gray stone, with a poverty stricken token of antique gentility. She remembers the face of a man well stricken with years, a pale, thin, scholar-like visage, with eyes dim and bleared by the lamp-light that had served them to pore over many ponderous books. Yet those same bleared optics had strange, penetrating power, when it was their owners purpose to read the human soul. This figure of the study and the cloister, as Hester Prynnes womanly fancy failed not to recall, was slightly deformed with the left shoulder a trifle higher than the right. With him, she remembers the intricate and narrow thoroughfares, the tall, gray houses, the huge cathedrals, and the public edifices, ancient in date and quaint in architecture, of a Continental city, presumably Amsterdam, where a new life had awaited her, still in connection with the misshapen scholar. Finally, she comes back to the Puritan setting in the marketplace where she now stands upon the scaffold.


How old is her baby? An infant, a baby of some three months old


Where was the baby born? How do you know? In prison. When Hester steps into the sunlight from the prison cell, the baby winked and turned aside its little face from the too vivid light of day; because its existence, heretofore, had brought it acquainted only with the gray twilight of a dungeon, or other darksome apartment of the prison.

Chapter 3 The Recognition 1. Describe the man who is standing on the outskirts of the crowd. He was small in stature, with a furrowed visage, which, as yet, could hardly be termed aged. There was a remarkable intelligence in his features, as of a person who had so cultivated his mental part that it could not fail to mould the physical to itself, and become manifest by unmistakable tokens. Although, by a seemingly careless arrangement of his heterogeneous garb, he had endeavored to conceal or abate the peculiarity, it was sufficiently evident to Hester Prynne, that one of this mans shoulders rose higher than the other. 2. What gesture does he make to Hester that suggests he knows her? he slowly and calmly raised his finger, made a gesture with it in the air, and laid it on his lips. 3. What does the stranger learn from the townsman next to him? He learns that Hester has caused a stir in the community, suggesting that her husband sending her to the colony before him and without supervision played a role in her temptation to commit adultery.


What is the usual punishment for adultery? Why is Hesters punishment less severe? The usual punishment for adultery is death; however, the magistracy of Massachusetts decided not to sentence death to Hester because they felt that she was strongly tempted to her fall and that her husband may be at the bottom of the sea.


What are Hesters feelings toward the stranger? Hester has no desire to interact with the stranger, and she feels thankful that she is currently standing on the scaffold surrounded by so many witnesses, believing that they offer her refuge so that she does not have to face this man.

6. Who are Bellingham and Wilson, and what do they want Hester to do? Bellingham is the governor of the colony while Wilson is the eldest clergyman of Boston. Both ask that Hester reveal the name of her babys father, suggesting that if she did so, she will be all the better as her soul will be purged and they might be compelled to remove the A from her chest. 7. Describe Dimmesdale. a young clergyman, who had come from one of the great English universities, bringing all the learning of the age into our wild forest-land. His eloquence and religious fervor had already given the earnest of high eminence in his profession. He was a person of very striking aspect, with a white, lofty, and impending brow, large, brown, melancholy eyes, and a mouth which, unless when he forcibly compressed it, was apt to be tremulous, expressing both nervous sensibility and a vast power of self-restraint. Notwithstanding his high native gifts and scholar-like attainments, there was an air about this young minister, -- an apprehensive, a startled, a half-frightened look, -- as of as being who felt himself quite astray and at a loss in the pathway of human existence, and could only be eased by some seclusion of his own. 8. What is his relationship to Hester? What does he ask her to reveal? He is her minister. He asks her to reveal the name of the father if she feels that it will bring peace to her soul. He tells her not to be silent out of pity or love for him, as it would be better for him if he were to stand with her on the scaffold than for him to live life with a guilty conscience knowing he is both a sinner and a hypocrite. He also says that it is a blessing that her sin is open as it allows her to work to triumph over her sin whereas the father is currently denied that opportunity and has not the courage to take it for himself through confession of his sin. 9. Why wont Hester name the childs father? Hester looks at Dimmesdale rather than the cold, harsh magistrates or the stranger in the crowd as speaks, refusing to give the name of the father and citing her purpose to be that her sin is too deeply branded in her heart for the A to be removed, that she chooses to endure his agony as well as hers, and that her daughter will have to seek God as a father as she will never know an earthly father. Chapter 4 The Interview 1. How does Hester act when she returns to prison? She was in a state of nervous excitement that demanded constant watchfulness, lest she should perpetrate violence on herself, or do some half-frenzied mischief to the poor babe. 2. Why does the jailer call a doctor? The doctor was intended not as much for Hester as for the baby who, drawing its sustenance from the maternal bosom, seemed to have drank in with it all the turmoil, the anguish, the despair, which pervaded the mothers system. It now writhed in convulsions of pain, and was a forcible type, in its little frame, of the moral agony which Hester Prynne had borne throughout the day. 3. What is the doctors name? Roger Chillingworth

4. Quote 2 lines that indicate the doctor and Hester know each other before this meeting. What is the relationship between Chillingworth and

Hester: Wouldst thou avenge thyself on the innocent babe? Chillingworth: The medicine is potent for good; and were it my child, -- yea, mine own, as well as thine! I could do no better for it. 5. Why should Hesters marriage be a failure? Chillingworth took her as a wife though she told him she never loved him; he did so out of selfish desire to know love. Therefore, he has no vengeance against Hester for her sin as he says he should have known that this would happen; now that theyve wronged eachother, the scale hangs fairly balanced between Hester and Chillingworth. 6. Did Hester ever love her husband? Quote Hester to support your answer. No. Thou knowest, said Hester thou knowest that I was frank with thee. I felt no love, nor feigned any. 7. What does Chillingworth vow to do? What secret does Chillingworth ask Hester to keep? He will discover the father of the bastard child. Hester has to keep from the townspeople that Chillingworth is her long lost husband just as she has kept the name of the father a secret. 8. What symbol is introduced for Chillingworth in Hesters final lines in this chapter? Chillingworth is symbolically the devil. The look in his eyes and his devilish grin, as well as his plan to set up a tent on the outskirts of town in the forest (an area in which the devil lived in Christian folklore and an area that is associated with the Native Americans and their religious beliefs which the Puritans associated with witchcraft), aligns him with the Black Man. Looking at Chillingworths last line in Chapter 4, the reader recognizes that he is on an obsessive hunt for a mans soul. Chapter 5: Hester at Her Needle 1. What general symbol has Hester become? She is a symbol of sin for the townspeople, a subject for sermons or conversations, a lesson to be taught to children. 2. Give at least 2 reasons why Hester does not leave the colony. She believed that Boston had been the scene of her guilt, and here should be the scene of her earthly punishment, and she felt that in Boston there dwelt, there trode the feet of one with whom she deemed herself connected in a union, that, unrecognized on earth, would bring them together before the bar of final judgment, and make that their marriage-altar, for a joint futurity of endless retribution. 3. Describe Hesters home. On the outskirts of the town, within the verge of the peninsula, but not in close vicinity to any other habitation, there was a small thatched cottage. It had been built by an earlier settler, and abandoned, because the soil about it was too sterile for cultivation, white its comparative remoteness put it out of the sphere of that social activity which already marked the habits of the emigrants. It stood on the shore, looking across a basin of the sea at the forest-covered hills, towards the west. A clump of scrubby trees, such as alone grew on the peninsula, did not so much conceal the cottage from view, as seem to denote that here was some object which would fain have been, or at least ought to be, concealed. In this little, lonesome dwelling, with some slender means that she possessed, and by the license of the magistrates, who still kept an inquisitorial watch over her, Hester established herself, with her infant child. 4. What talent did Hester use to support herself and Pearl? Needlework


What garment is Hester not allowed to sew? Bridal veil, showing the severity of her sin as viewed by the townspeople a woman so sinful and impure cannot fashion the veil of a virgin bride.

6. Why type of dress did Hester wear? Pearl ? Hester wears clothing that is coarse and drab with the exception of the elaborately designed scarlet A. Pearl, however, wears clothing that is distinguished by a fanciful, or, we might rather say, a fantastic ingenuity, which served, indeed, to heighten the airy charm that early began to develop itself in the little girl. 7. What does Hester do that shows she has a charitable nature? She makes clothing for the poor even though they tend to revile the hand that was stretched forth to succor them. 8. How did the poor, the ladies of Boston , the clergy, and the children treat Hester? The poor refuse her charity. The women gossip about her and teach their children to look poorly on her. The clergymen use her as a source of spurof-the-moment sermons in the street. People refuse to make eye contact with her, and she often catches people glancing at the A, but never looking at her. Children treat her as if shes a object of fear, peeking at her at her home and running away in fear. 9. What special knowledge does Hester feel the Scarlet Letter gives her? She feels that it gives her a sympathetic knowledge of the hidden sin in other hearts. Chapter 6: Pearl 1. Why did Hester name her child Pearl? she names the infant Pearl, as being of great price, -- purchased with all she had, -- her mothers only treasure! 2. What does the Scarlet Letter mean to Pearl? At this point, the A is a fascination. As a baby, Pearl seems instinctively drawn the A. Symbolically, this suggests a connection between the baby and the A as they are born from the same sin, but some may speculate that the decorative nature of the letter during a time period of particularly bland dress would draw ones attention. As she grows older, Pearl tortures her mother by giving attention the A. One might argue that the dark nature of her birth (sinful in fact) gives her the impish behavior that inspires her to press Hesters buttons. 3. What did the townspeople say about Pearl? the neighboring townspeople, who, seeking vainly elsewhere for the childs paternity, and observing some of her odd attributes, had given out that poor little Pearl was a demon offspring; such as, ever since old Catholic times, had occasionally been seen on earth, through the agency of their mothers sin Chapter 7: The Governors Hall 1. Name 2 reasons Hester visits Governor Bellingham. 1-She had fringed and embroidered a pair of gloves for him. though the chances of popular election had caused this former ruler to descend a step or two from the highest rank, he still held an honorable and influential place among the colonial magistracy. (Historical note: Governor Richard Bellingham had become governor of colonial Massachusetts in 1641, but he was excluded from office in 1642 because he married a woman who was betrothed to his friend, causing a scandal in the colony.) 2-Hester wanted to speak with Governor Bellingham because she had heard rumors that higher authorities of the town planned to take Pearl from Hesters care because they felt Pearl was of demon origin. They felt that it was in a Christian interest to protect Hesters soul by removing such a stumbling block from her path. If Pearl was actually capable of moral and religious growth, and possessed the elements of ultimate salvation, then, surely it would enjoy all the fairer prospects of these advantages by being transferred to a wiser and better guardianship than Hester Prynnes. 2. How are the Scarlet Letter and Pearl alike?

They are one in the same. Pearls appearance made onlookers think of the scarlet A on Hesters chest, and Hester likened Pearl to the letter by dressing her in a crimson velvet tunic, of a peculiar cut, abundantly embroidered with fantasies and flourishes of gold thread much like the letter A that was described thusly: On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A. Both are born from the sin of Hester and Dimmesdale, and the symbolic appearance of Pearl is meant to remind the reader of that fact. ***Symbolism at the chapters conclusion: At about the centre of the oaken panels, that lined the hall, was suspended a suit of mail. Pearl sees this, and she is enthralled by the shiny metal. She becomes more excited when she sees her mothers image reflected in the metal, and Hester turns to humor her. However, Hester then sees, to her horror, the scarlet letter was represented in exaggerated and gigantic proportions so much that she seemed to be hidden behind it. The enlarged A reflected back at Hester and Pearl suggests a sensation that her sin is an insurmountable hurdle that will continue to block Hester from a peaceful existence. Hester wants to pull Pearl from the image of her sin by telling her to walk to the garden. In this scene, Pearl sees the rose bushes, and she begins to cry for a red rose, and would not be pacified. The red rose is reminiscent of the rose outside of the prison that stood for sympathy and hope, suggesting Pearl is grasping for something good to calm the negativity that surrounds her due to Hesters secret sin. Chapter 8: The Elf and the Minister 1. Who are the other visitors at the Governors house? Reverend John Wilson, Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger Chillingworth 2. How much time has elapsed since the opening scene? Now Pearl knew well enough who made her; for Hester Prynne, the daughter of a pious home, very soon after her talk with the child about her Heavenly Father, had begun to inform her of those truths which the human spirit, at whatever stage of immaturity, imbibes with such eager interest. Pearl, therefore, so large were the attainments of her three years lifetime, could have borne a fair examination in the New England Primer, or the first column of the Westminster Catechism, although unacquainted with the outward form of either of those celebrated works. 3. With what creatures of fantasy is Pearl continually compared? Why do you think this is so? An imp which is a little devil or demon; an evil spirit . Her demeanor and her connection to sin links her to darkness and sin. She is also compared to a fairy which is one of a class of supernatural beings, generally conceived as having a diminutive human form and possessing magical powers with which they intervene in human affairs. She is smaller with seemingly magical intuition. Plus, in this chapter, Pearl is claimed to have been sent to Hester as a type of intervention, both as a blessing and as retribution. 4. How has Chillingworth changed since Hester last saw him? Hester Prynne looked at [Chillingworth], and even then, with her fate hanging in the balance, was startled to perceive what a change had come over his features,--how much uglier they were,--how his dark complexion seemed to have grown duskier, and his figure more misshapen,--since the days when she had familiarly known him. 5. Why does John Wilson question Pearl ? What is her response? How might this be symbolic? He questions Pearl to see if she was being raised in a Christian home, and he asks her if she knows who made her, fully expecting to hear a response related to the Heavenly Father. Pearls response, though, is from the perspective of a stubborn child. She claims that she was plucked from the bush of wild roses that grew by the prison by her mother. This might be symbolic as Pearl is, in fact, the greatest treasure in her mothers life, and since the rose is symbolic of sympathy or hope, Pearl may perhaps be the only hope for Hester as becomes apparent at the end of chapter when Mistress HIbbins invites Hester to rendez vous with the devil. Hester declines, though, saying, Had they taken her from me, I would willingly have gone with thee into the forest, and signed my name in the Black Mans book too, and that with mine own blood. 6. How has Rev. Dimmesdale changed since Hesters public humiliation?

He looked now more careworn and emaciated than as we described him at the scene of Hesters public ignominy; and whether it were his failing health, or whatever the cause might be, his large dark eyes had a world of pain in their troubled and melancholy depth. 7. Who pleads successfully for Hester to keep her child? Dimmesdale 8. To which visitor does Pearl respond to lovingly? Dimmesdale 9. How does Chillingworth respond to the nature of Pearls behavior and the pleading of Hesters case? Chillingworth to Dimmesdale You speak, my friend, with a strange earnestness. Chillingworth to elders It is easy to see the mothers part in her. Would it be beyond a philosophers research, think ye, genetlemen, to analyze that childs nature, and, from its make and mould, to give shrewd guess at the father? Chapter 9: The Leech 1. What new identity has Chillingworth assumed in Boston? Why is he successful? He assumes the name Roger Chillingworth in order to hide the fact that is, in fact, Master Prynne. He takes on the title of physician as his previous studies have made him learned in the art of medical science. He is successful because skillful men of the medical and surgical profession were of rare occurrence in the colony. In the town, there were few doctors because most doctors focused on scientific understanding and lost sight of faithfulness to God. 2. To whom in the colony does Chillingworth attach himself as a medical advisor? He chooses Dimmesdale as his spiritual guide As Dimmesdales health had begun to fail, Chillingworth attaches himself to Dimmesdale also as Ds physician. 3. Describe Dimmesdales health. By those best acquainted with his habits, the paleness of the young ministers cheek was accounted for by his too earnest devotion to study, his scrupulous fulfillment of parochial duty, and, more than all, by the fasts and vigils of which he made a frequent practice, in order to keep the grossness of this earthly state from clogging and obscuring his spiritual lamp. Some declared, that, if Mr. Dimmesdale were really going to die, it was cause enough that the world was not worthy to be any longer trodden by his feet. He himself, on the other hand, with characteristic humility, avowed his belief that if Providence should see fit to remove him, it would be because of his own unworthiness to perform its humblest mission here on earth. with every successive Sabbath, his cheek was paler and thinner, and his voice more tremulous than beforewhen it had now become a constant habit, rather than a casual gesture to press his hand over his heart? 4. What gesture has become Dimmesdales habit? He places his hand over his heart with first a flush and then a paleness, indicative of pain. 5. Quote a sentence from this chapter that associates Chillingworth with evil. So Roger Chillingworththe man of skill, the kind and friendly physicianstrove to go deep into his patients boson, delving among his principles, prying into his recollections, and probing everything within cautious touch, like a treasure-seeker in a dark cavern. Few secrets can escape an investigator who has opportunity and license to undertake such a quest, and skill to follow it up. In other words, Chillingworth is delving as deep as he can into Dimmesdales inner beinghis soul. 6. What two opposing views do the townspeople hold about Roger Chillingworth?

Some see the union between Chillingworth and Dimmesdale as an advantageous one, a blessing as the minister has become so ill, while others suspect something sinister in Chillingworth, citing a change in his appearance that makes him look evil and darker as he spends more time investigating what ails the minister. Chapter 10: The Leech and His Patient 1. What investigation consumes Chillingworth? He began an investigation with the severe and equal integrity of a judge, desirous only of truth though the purpose of his investigation was of human passions and wrongs inflicted on himself, meaning he cannot be unbiased in his pursuits. He becomes obsessed, and begins digging into the poor clergymans heart, like a miner searching for gold; or rather, like a sexton devling into a grave, possibly in quest of a jewel that had been buried on the dead mans bosom. 2. Who is Chillingworths main suspect and victim? Dimmesdale 3. What is a leech? What double meaning does the word leech have? 1. Any bloodsucking or carnivorous auatic or terrestrial worm; certain types used in medicine formerly for bloodletting

2. A person who clings to another for personal gain, especially without giving anything in return, and usually with the implication or effect of exhausting the others resources In an essence, Chillingworth has become a parasite to Dimmesdale. 4. What secret does Chillingworth believe is buried in Dimmesdales heart? He asks Dimmesdale if he, his physician, has been given all of the facts. With this question, he claims that a doctoror any manwho is only told the outer troubles, the physical symptoms, may only know half of the issue at hand. In this, the reader assumes that Chillingworth is speculating that Dimmesdale is hiding in his heart the sin of adultery committed with Hester. 5. Considering Chillingworths goal, how might one compare him to the devil? He, like the devil, is obsessed with reaching and possessing the depths of a mans soul. 6. Why would Dimmesdale live with guilt and not confess his sin openly? He claims that men may keep their secrets so that they may protect their image on earth because, once a mans reputation is tarnished with sin, he is incapable of doing good deedsnamely Gods workwithin the community because he is no longer viewed as pious and good. 7. What reaction does Pearl have to Chillingworth when she sees him with Rev. Dimmesdale? She yells to Hester, telling her to run away before the Black Man gets her as he has already gotten Reverend Dimmesdale. 8. What discovery does Chillingworth make when Dimmesdale fell into a deep, deep slumber? Chillingworth moves the cloth that covers Dimmesdales chest to discover something that reveals the secret of Dimmesdales soul, presumably a letter A etched into the ministers skin by whipping or other form of self-mutilation. Chapter 11: The Interior of a Heart 1. What effect does Reverend Dimmesdales guilt have upon his popularity in the colony?

While thus suffering under bodily disease, and gnawed and tortured by some black trouble of the soul, and given over to the machinations of his deadliest enemy, the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale had achieved a brilliant popularity in his sacred office. He won it, indeed, in great part, by his sorrows. His intellectual gifts, his moral perceptions, his power of experiencing and communicating emotion, were kept in a state of preternatural

activity by the prick and anguish of his daily life. His fame, though still on its upward slop, already overshadowed the soberer reputations of his fellow clergymen, eminent as severl of them were. 2. What practices does Dimmesdale begin as a result of his guilt?

In Mr. Dimmesdales secret closet, under lock and key, there was bloody scourge. Oftentimes, this Protestant and Puritan divine had plied it on his own shoulders, laughing bitterly at himself te while, and smiting so much the more pitilessly because of that bitter laugh. It was his custom, too, as it has been that of many other pious Puritans, to fastnot however, like them, in order to purify the body and render it the fitter medium of celestial illumination, but rigorously, and until his knees trembled beneath him, as an act of penance. He kept vigils, likewise, night after night, sometimes in utter darkness; sometimes with the glimmering lamp; and sometimes, viewing his own face in a looking glass, by the most powerful light which he could throw upon it. He thus typified the constant introspection wherewith he tortured, but could not purify, himself. Chapter 12: The Ministers Vigil 1. What is a vigil? 1. 2. 3. 4. Wakefulness maintained for any reason during the normal hours for sleeping A watch period of watchful attention maintained at night or at other times A period of wakefulness from inability to sleep Ecclesiastical 1. 2. 3. 2. A devotional watching, or keeping awake, during the customary hours of sleep A nocturnal devotional exercise or service especially on the eve before a church festival The eve (day and night) before a church festival, especially an eve that is a fast

Where does Dimmesdale hold his vigil?

On the scaffold it is important to note that Dimmesdale goes to this vigil walking in the shadow of a dream, as it were, and perhaps actually under the influence of a species of somnambulism or sleepwalking. If he is sleepwalking, this dream reveals the inner secrets of his subconsciousto reveal the truth of his guilt and sin. Why, then, had he come hither? Was it but the mockery of penitence? The penance, which means punishment, is perhaps the physical mutilation which Dimmesdale had inflicted upon himself and the psychological torture which is brought upon by Roger Chillingworth. Penitence however, means regret or salvation in this case, it describes all the pain and vigil Dimmesdale had held in order to regain favor from God. But yet he never felt forgiven. 3. Why are Hester and Pearl out at midnight? Hester has been at the deathbed of Governor Winthrop because she was asked to make his burial robe. 4. What promise does Dimmesdale refuse to make to Pearl?

He refuses to stand with Hester and Pearl, hand in hand, on the scaffold at noon the next day. 5. What is miraculous about the meteor?

The meteor casts a scarlet A in the sky. Symbolically, the A may serve as a reminder of the sin that unites the family that now stands on the scaffold together. Even so, the townspeople interpret the A to be meant for the Governor Winthrop, an angel, who has passed away during the night. 6. Quote a line that shows Chillingworth as a symbol of evil.

Roger Chillingworth have passed with them for the archfiend, standing there with a smile and scowl, to claim his own. Chapter 13: Another View of Hester 1. How old is Pearl in this chapter? Seven 2. How has the townspeoples view changed toward Hester?

The town has grown accustomed to Hester and his scarlet letter, and because her crime has not been continually irritated, the town has now come to accept her. They have come to see the A not as a symbol of her sin, but as a sign of her being Able because so strong was Hester Prynne, with a womans strength. ***This chapter has come to be known as the feminist chapter as Hester is viewed as capable and strong, a quiet force that does not bring harm to others and refuses to accept harm from those who are determined to attack her. Also, this chapter shows Hester questioning the whole race of womanhood. Was existence worth accepting, even to the happiest among them? As concerned her own individual existence, she had long ago decided in the negative, and dismissed the point as settled. A tendency to speculation, though it may keep woman quiet, as it does man, yet makes her sad. She discerns, it may be, such a hopeless task before her. As a first step, the whole system of society is to be torn down and built up anew. Then, the very nature of the opposite sex, or its long hereditary habit which has become like nature, is to be essentially modified before woman can be allowed to assume what seems a fair and suitable position. Finally, all other difficulties being obviated, woman cannot take advantage of these preliminary reforms until she herself have undergone a still mightier change; in which, perhaps, the ethereal essence, wherein she has her truest life, will be found to have evaporated. 3. How has Hesters appearance changed?

All the light and graceful foliage of her character had been withered up by this red-hot brand, and had long ago fallen away, leaving a bare and harsh outline which might have been repulsive, has she possessed friends or companions to be repelled by it. Even the attractiveness of her person had undergone a similar change. It might be partly owing to the studied austerity of her dress, and partly to the lack of demonstration in her manners. It was a sad transformation, too, that her rich and luxuriant hair had either been cut off, or was so completely hidden by a cap, that not a shining lock of it ever once gushed into the sunshine. there seemed to be no longer anything in Hesters face for Love to dwell upon; nothing in Hesters form, though majestic and statue-like, that Passion would ever dream of clasping in its embrace; nothing in Hesters bosom to make it ever again the pillow of Affection. 4. What does Hester resolve to do?

She plans to meet with Chillingworth in order to save Dimmesdale from his grasps. Chapter 14: Hester and the Physician 1. How has Roger Chillingworth changed in the past 7 years?

It was not so much that he had grown older; for though the traces of advancing life were visible, he bore his age well and seemed to retain a wiry vigor and alertness. But the former aspect of an intellectual and studious man, calm and quiet, which was what she best remembered in him, had altogether vanished, and been succeeded by an eager, searching, almost fierce, yet carefully guarded look. It seemed to be his wish and purpose to mask this expression with a smile, but the latter played him false, and flickered over his visage so derisively, that the spectator could see his blackness all the better for it. Ever and anon, too, there came a glare of red light out of his eyes; as if the old mans soul were on fire, and kept on smoldering within his breast, until by some casual puff of passion, it was blown into a momentary flame. This he repressed as speedily as possible, and strove to look as if nothing of the kind had happened. In a word, old Roger Chillingworth was a striking evidence of mans faculty of transforming himself into a devil, if he will only, for a reasonable space of time, undertake a devils office. The unhappy person had effected such a transformation by devoting himself, for seven years, to the constant analysis of a heart full of torture, and deriving his enjoyment thense, and adding fuel to those fiery tortures which he analyzed and gloated over. 2. Quote at least one line that directly associates Chillingworth with the devil. Cite the page number.

He knew that no friendly hand was pulling at his heart-strings, and that an eye was looking curiously into him, which sought only evil, and found it. But he knew not that the eye and hand were mine! With the superstition common to his brotherhood, he fancied himself given over to a fiend, to be

tortured with frightful dreams, and desperate thoughts, the sting of remorse, and despair of pardon, as a foretaste of what awaits him beyond the grave. Page 124 3. What does Hester want Chillingworth to do?

Stop causing harm to Dimmesdale 4. What revelation is she going to make to Reverend Dimmesdale.

That Chillingworth is her husband 5. What effect has Chillingworth had on Dimmesdale? Quote a line to support your answer.

He has created delusions in the man and caused his soul continual torment. With the superstition common to his brotherhood, he fancied himself given over to a fiend, to be tortured with frightful dreams, and desperate thoughts, the sting of remorse, and despair of pardon, as a foretaste of what awaits him beyond the grave. Page 124 Chapter 15: Hester and Pearl 1. Read Hesters description of Chillingworth carefully. How does she feel about him?

A deformed old figure, with a face that haunted mens memories longer than they liked She is disgusted and repulsed by the man that he has become; in essence, he has erased any goodness in his soul and become a nightmare. She hates him. 2. What questions are asked of Hester by Pearl? Why does this trouble Hester?

What does the scarlet letter men?and why doest thou wear it on thy bosom?and why does the minister keep his hand over his heart? Pearl has a knowledge that is unsettling to Hester because she is making connections that seem wise beyond her years, but believes Pearl too young to know the truth. Oddly, the child makes a connection that people in the town have failed to make, probably because the Puritans view their world in a way that limits them from admitting the sin that is obvious in their minister. Hester wonders if it is possible that Pearlher blessing and retributionis meant not only to be her reminder of her sin, but also the thing that soothes the sorrow that lay cold in her mothers heart so that Hester might overcome the passion, once so wild, and even yet neither dead nor asleep, but only imprisoned within her tomblike heart. Pearls persistence with the questioning, though, makes her forget these thoughts because it becomes apparent that Pearl is not showing sympathy to her mother but rather continuing to torture her. Chapter 16: A Forest Walk 1. Where does Hester plan to meet Dimmesdale? Why?

She plans to meet him when he talks his walk away from town or away from the colony so that no one will see them together and his reputation can remain intact. 2. Describe the scene with Hester and Pearl in the sunlight. What symbolic meaning could the sunlight have? Why does sunlight shine on Pearl and not on Hester? Mother, said little Pearl, the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your 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! The sunlight shines on Pearl as she plays, but when Hester approaches reaching out her hand to grasp some it, the sunshine disappears. In the scene, there is the implication is that Pearl mistakes the A to mean adult. If so, when she grows up, the sun will stray from her as it does her mother. Symbolically, the sun is the light, and because Pearl has not committed a dark sin like Hester, she is still capable of being in the light while Hester remains in the darkness beneath the scarlet A and the secrets that she keeps. 3. What story has Pearl heard about the black man?

She has heard that the Black Man haunts the forest while carrying a big, heavy, book with iron clasps and an iron pen which he offers to those he meets in the forest so that they can write their names blood. She then asks Hester if she has met the Black Man. 4. What does Hester mean when she says, Once in my life, I met the Black Man. This scarlet letter is his mark.

Most likely, Hester is making the statement to quiet Pearl, but in truth, the mark of the scarlet letter is a mark of sin which links it to the temptations supposedly provided by the devil. 5. Why does Pearl think the minister holds his hand over his heart? How is there symbolic truth in what she says? She asks if he keeps his hand over his heart because Dimmesdale wrote his name in the Black Mans book and the devil then placed his name on Dimmesdales heart. Symbolically, Pearl is right in her suspicion for the same reason that it is true that the scarlet letter is the mark of the devil he clutches his heart, the place where he hides the sin which is indicative of the temptations supposedly provided by the devil. Chapter 17: The Pastor and His Parishioner 1. How has Dimmesdales secret sin affected his life? Use a quote to support your answers and cite the page number.

Sin has tortured him; he feels that sin is killing his soul. Nonenothing bust despair! Were I an atheista man devoid of consciencea wretch with coarse and brutal instinctsI might have found peace, long ere now. Nay, I never should have lost it! But, as matters stand with my soul, whatever of good capacity there originally was in me, all of Gods gifts that were the choicest have become the ministers of spiritual torment. Hester, I am most miserable! 2. What is Dimmesdales secret poison his malignity, infecting all air about him?

Chillingworth is the secret poison whose malign nature is sickening Dimmesdale in Hesters eyes. 3. From what does Hester hope to save Dimmesdale by telling him the truth about Chillingworth?

She believes that in telling him the truth, she will save him from the torture that Chillingworth has inflicted on him for seven years. 4. Does Hester still love Dimmesdale? Use a quote to support your answer. Cite a page number.

Yes. Such was the ruin to which she had brought the man, onenay, why should we not speak of itstill so passionately loved! 5. What is Dimmesdales reaction to the truth?

His face becomes dark, supposedly showing the side of him which the Devil has touched, and he initially refuses forgiveness though he later does forgive Hester for the secret she kept. 6. What future plans does Hester suggest to Dimmesdale as a way to escape Chillingworth?

She suggests that the world does not stop outside of the town, saying that they can go away to England or Germany or another part of Europe to escape the town and Chillingworth.

Chapter 18: A Flood of Sunshine 1. What is Dimmesdales decision in response to Hesters plea that they leave the colony? Cite a quote and page number to support your answer.

He struggles with the suggestion at first because, Hawthorne suggests, he has not been it a situation which would lead him to consider leaving the colony like Hester has as an outcast from society. He then decides that, because there has been no moment of peace or hope for him in the past seven years and because he is definitely doomed in this place, to go with her to find a better life and to be with his love.

If, in all these past seven yearsI could recall one instant of peace or hope, I would yet endure, for the sake of that earnest of Heavens mercy. But nowsince I am irrevocably doomedwherefore should I not snatch the solace allowed to the condmned culprit before his execution? Or, if this be the path to a better life, as Hester would persuade me, I surely give up no fairer prospect by pursuing it! Neither can I any longer live without her companionship; so powerful is she to sustainso tender to soothe! O Thou to whom I dare not lift mine eyes, wilt Thou pardon me! 2. Why is the chapter called, A Flood of Sunshine?

This is one of the only chapters in which there is joy for Dimmesdale or Hester to this point. Literally, the sunshine floods Hester when she removes the scarlet A and lets down her hair, symbolizing the freedom and hope that the two lovers feel. 3. What does Hester do that symbolizes putting the past behind them?

Takes off the A and lets down her hair 4. When Hester throws down her scarlet letter, the transfiguration foreshadowed in Chapter 13 occurs, and Hesters beauty returns. What is the magic touch that effects the transformation?

The removal of the A which allows the sunshine to touch her again. 5. Near the end of this chapter, the forest creatures are naturally drawn to Pearl and recognize her as a kindred wildness. How do you account for this wildness in Pearl? The natural world is aligned with the uncivilized/darkness of the Devil; Pearl, being born of sin, is associated with that darkness. In being tied to the sins of her parents, Pearl is an outcast from the civilized world despite her continued efforts to force her parents to accept the sin theyve committed (her) much as society does. Chapter 19: The Child at the Brookside 1. What does Dimmesdale mean when he says, Oh, Hester, what a thought is that, and how terrible to dread it ! that my own features were part repeated in her face, and so strikingly that the world might see them!

He has feared that the world would recognize his features in her appearance. 2. Why is Pearl upset when her mother calls her? Realistically, she is angered because she has grown accustomed to the A being on her mother, and without the A, she does not think that her mother is what she should be. Symbolically, her connection to the A suggests that she has also been cast aside by her mother, presumably in favor of Dimmesdale. 3. What is Pearl s reaction to Dimmesdale? How is Pearl a symbol for Hester and Dimmesdale? She will not show him any favor; she goes so far as to wash his kiss from her forehead. Pearl acts as societys enforcer, forcing the couple to face their sin through making her mother put the A back on her chest and asking if Dimmesdale will always keep his hand over his heart.

Chapter 20: The Minister in a Maze 1. Where have Hester and Dimmesdale decided to go when they leave Boston? Why do they choose to go there rather than remain in the New World?

England 2. How does it happen that Hester is acquainted with the captain of the ship now in the harbor?

She knows him through her work with charity. 3. Why does Dimmesdale consider it fortunate that the ship is not to sail for 4 days?

He will have the opportunity to seal his reputation as a successful and venerable preacher on the third day when he is to give the Election Sermon. 4. The devil Chapters 21 The New England Holiday , and Chapter 22 The Procession 1. What have the crowds of people gathered in the maket place to witness? When Mistress Hibbins offers to introduce Dimmesdale to yonder potentate you wot of, to whom is she referring?

Theyve gathered to see the procession of magistrates and ministers as they move to witness the Election Sermon. 2. What piece of unwelcome news does the master of the ship on which, she, Pearl , and Dimmesdale are to sail have for Hester? Chillingworth has made plans to board the ship with them. 3. What is particularly noticeable about Dimmesdales manner as he walks in the procession?

never, since Mr. Dimmesdale first set his foot on the New Englad shore, had he exhibited such energy as was seen in the gait and air with which he kept his pace in the procession. There was no feebleness of step , as at other times; his frame was not bent; nor did his hand rest ominously upon his heart. Yet, if the clergyman were rightly viewed, his strength seemed not of the body. It might be spiritual, and imparted to him by the angelical ministrations. 4. Where does Hester stand during the procession and during Dimmesdales sermon in the church?

Beside the scaffold Chapter 23 The Revelation of the Scarlet Letter and Chapter 24 Conclusion 1. How does Dimmesdale appear as he leaves the church after his triumphant sermon?

How feeble and pale he looked amid all his triumph! 2. How does Pearl react when Dimmesdale calls Hester and herself to mount the scaffold with him? The child, with the birdlike motion which was one of her characteristics, flew to him, and clasped her arms about his knees. 3. Where, according to Chillingworth, is the one place where Dimmesdale could have successfully escaped him?

On the scaffold 4. What were some of the conjectures made by parishioners as to the origin of the ministers scarlet letter?

Some claim that the A is a result of his penance for his sin while others claim that the A is a product of Chillingworths poisoning him over time while still others claim that there was no A on his chest at all. 5. How would you account for the different ways Dimmesdale carries himself? What might we assume has happened to him during the course of the sermon?

Before the sermon, Dimmesdale is under the impression that he can separate himself from his sin and the society that holds him to a high standard; as he preaches of the relationship between God and man, he recognizes that the issue is not so much about society but about his relationship with God. He will not be able to escape himself, forcing him to make himself right in his relationship with God.


Explain why Chillingworth desperately tries to stop Dimmesdale from confessing his sins on the scaffold?

As he is a leech or parasite, Chillingworth needs Dimmesdale alive for his life to continue having a purpose; with no one to torture, Chillingworth can no longer live. 7. What do you think Dimmesdale means when he describes his and Hesters sin as violating our reverence for each others soul?

In commiting the sin together, they each disregarded the sanctity of the others soul in tempting it into sin and pulling it away from salvation. The Novel as a Whole 1. 2. 3. 4. One consequence of sin in The Scarlet Letter is that the sinner acquires the ability to sense or recognize the sins of others. For example, in Chapter 5, Hester realizes that the scarlet letter she wears gives her a sympathetic knowledge of the hidden sins in others hearts. Show how the same kind of insight is possessed by Chillingworth, Dimmesdale, and Mistress Hibbins. Another consequence of sin in this novel is isolation. Cite passages that indicate the isolation of the 3 major characters Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth. In this novel, Hawthorne makes extensive use of symbols. Explain Hawthornes use of the following as symbols: the scaffold, the forest, weeds, and poisonous plants. Find 2 examples of verbal irony (say one thing but mean another), 2 examples of dramatic irony (audience knows things are opposite of what characters think), and 2 examples of situational irony (opposite of what is intended to happen actually happens) in the novel.