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 Hester’s reveries, when the world’s 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 Hester’s coming through the prison door. The older women suggest that Hester’s 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

“glowing with girlish beauty.” 3. with a poverty stricken token of antique gentility.” She remembers. could hardly be termed aged. . because its existence. by a seemingly careless arrangement of his heterogeneous garb. the baby “winked and turned aside its little face from the too vivid light of day. Where was the baby born? How do you know? In prison. It was so artistically done. When Hester steps into the sunlight from the prison cell. What things does Hester think about while she is on the scaffold? She remembers her father’s face. and illuminating all the interior of the dusky mirror in which she had been wont to gaze at it. and laid it on his lips. This figure of the study and the cloister. which. There was a remarkable intelligence in his features.” Finally. What is Hester’s sin? Punishment? Adultery.” 7. a pale. and reverend white beard” and her mother’s. ancient in date and quaint in architecture. that it had all the effect of a last and fitting decoration to the apparel which she wore. thin. Describe the “A” on Hester’s chest. she must wear the scarlet A on her chest for the rest of her life and stand upon the scaffold for public humiliation 6. Describe the man who is standing on the outskirts of the crowd. as yet. but greatly beyond what was allowed by the sumptuary regulations of the colony. and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy. as of a person who had so cultivated his mental part that it could not fail to mould the physical to itself. What gesture does he make to Hester that suggests he knows her? “he slowly and calmly raised his finger.” 2. had brought it acquainted only with the gray twilight of a dungeon. gray houses. the tall. of a Continental city. with a furrowed visage.” presumably Amsterdam. heretofore. appeared the letter A. and become manifest by unmistakable tokens. or other darksome apartment of the prison. “a baby of some three months old” 9. “He was small in stature.” She also recalls her own face. it was sufficiently evident to Hester Prynne. surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread. that one of this man’s shoulders rose higher than the other. penetrating power. was slightly deformed with the left shoulder a trifle higher than the right. “with the look of heedful and anxious love…which…had so often laid the impediment of a gentle remonstrance in her daughter’s pathway. with eyes dim and bleared by the lamp-light that had served them to pore over many ponderous books. she remembers “the intricate and narrow thoroughfares. scholar-like visage. in fine red cloth. she comes back to the Puritan setting in the marketplace where she now stands upon the scaffold. made a gesture with it in the air. Although. and which was of a splendor in accordance with the taste of the age.” With him. What does the stranger learn from the townsman next to him? He learns that Hester has caused a stir in the community. also. the huge cathedrals. Yet those same bleared optics had strange.5. suggesting that her husband sending her to the colony before him and without supervision played a role in her temptation to commit adultery. the home in which she and her parents lived in Old England which was “a decayed house of gray stone.” Chapter 3 “The Recognition” 1. “where a new life had awaited her. 8. when it was their owner’s purpose to read the human soul. he had endeavored to conceal or abate the peculiarity. as Hester Prynne’s womanly fancy failed not to recall. still in connection with the misshapen scholar. and the public edifices. “with its bald brow.” She remembers the face of “a man well stricken with years. “On the breast of her gown. How old is her baby? An infant.

Quote 2 lines that indicate the doctor and Hester know each other before this meeting. What is his relationship to Hester? What does he ask her to reveal? He is her minister. however. He was a person of very striking aspect. or do some half-frenzied mischief to the poor babe. lofty. harsh magistrates or the stranger in the crowd as speaks. What are Hester’s feelings toward the stranger? Hester has no desire to interact with the stranger. 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. and she feels thankful that she is currently standing on the scaffold surrounded by so many witnesses. He asks her to reveal the name of the father if she feels that it will bring peace to her soul. bringing all the learning of the age into our wild forest-land. 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. unless when he forcibly compressed it. and impending brow. How does Hester act when she returns to prison? She was “in a state of nervous excitement that demanded constant watchfulness. Why does the jailer call a doctor? The doctor was intended not as much for Hester as for the baby “who. which pervaded the mother’s system. He tells her not to be silent out of pity or love for him.” 8. large. and that her daughter will have to seek God as a father as she will never know an earthly father. seemed to have drank in with it all the turmoil. 7. 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. Notwithstanding his high native gifts and scholar-like of as being who felt himself quite astray and at a loss in the pathway of human existence. Why won’t Hester name the child’s father? Hester looks at Dimmesdale rather than the cold. who had come from one of the great English universities. brown. What is the relationship between Chillingworth and Hester? . 6. drawing its sustenance from the maternal bosom. “a young clergyman. of the moral agony which Hester Prynne had borne throughout the day. with a white. suggesting that if she did so.” 3. Chapter 4 “The Interview” 1. the despair. the apprehensive. a half-frightened look. 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. and was a forcible type. His eloquence and religious fervor had already given the earnest of high eminence in his profession. 2. -. believing that they offer her refuge so that she does not have to face this man. and could only be eased by some seclusion of his own. Who are Bellingham and Wilson. in its little frame. was apt to be tremulous. melancholy eyes. a startled. lest she should perpetrate violence on herself. Both ask that Hester reveal the name of her baby’s father. What is the doctor’s name? Roger Chillingworth 4. she will be all the better as her soul will be purged and they might be compelled to remove the A from her chest. that she chooses to endure his agony as well as hers. expressing both nervous sensibility and a vast power of self-restraint. there was an air about this young minister.” 5.4. It now writhed in convulsions of pain. and what do they want Hester to do? Bellingham is the governor of the colony while Wilson is the eldest clergyman of Boston. and a mouth which. Describe Dimmesdale. What is the usual punishment for adultery? Why is Hester’s punishment less severe? The usual punishment for adultery is death. -. 9.

2. Chapter 5: “Hester at Her Needle” 1. What does Chillingworth vow to do? What secret does Chillingworth ask Hester to keep? He will discover the father of the bastard child. Did Hester ever love her husband? Quote Hester to support your answer. as well as thine! – I could do no better for it.” Looking at Chillingworth’s last line in Chapter 4. and were it my child. towards the west. “Thou knowest.yea. aligns him with “the Black Man.” 5.” 4. would bring them together before the bar of final judgment. and by the license of the magistrates. 6. a subject for sermons or conversations. lonesome dwelling. with her infant child. It stood on the shore.” 7. such as alone grew on the peninsula. Describe Hester’s home. Hester established herself. did not so much conceal the cottage from view.Hester: “Wouldst thou avenge thyself on the innocent babe?” Chillingworth: “The medicine is potent for good. Give at least 2 reasons why Hester does not leave the colony. and here should be the scene of her earthly punishment. and make that their marriage-altar. Therefore. 8. 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. What talent did Hester use to support herself and Pearl? Needlework 5. A clump of scrubby trees. as seem to denote that here was some object which would fain have been. In this little. unrecognized on earth. -. looking across a basin of the sea at the forest-covered hills. for a joint futurity of endless retribution. he has no vengeance against Hester for her sin as he says he should have known that this would happen. No.” 3. . What “general symbol” has Hester become? She is a symbol of sin for the townspeople. within the verge of the peninsula. Why should Hester’s 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. and abandoned. mine own. 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). that. It had been built by an earlier settler. a lesson to be taught to children. She believed that Boston had been “the scene of her guilt. there trode the feet of one with whom she deemed herself connected in a union. because the soil about it was too sterile for cultivation. but not in close vicinity to any other habitation. white its comparative remoteness put it out of the sphere of that social activity which already marked the habits of the emigrants. concealed. What symbol is introduced for Chillingworth in Hester’s final lines in this chapter? Chillingworth is symbolically the devil. 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. The look in his eyes and his devilish grin. the reader recognizes that he is on an obsessive hunt for a man’s soul. with some slender means that she possessed. who still kept an inquisitorial watch over her. “On the outskirts of the town. now that they’ve wronged eachother.” said Hester … “thou knowest that I was frank with thee. or at least ought to be. “the scale hangs fairly balanced” between Hester and Chillingworth.” and she felt that in Boston “there dwelt. nor feigned any. I felt no love. What garment is Hester not allowed to sew? Bridal veil. there was a small thatched cottage.

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

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

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

like a sexton devling into a grave.Some see the union between Chillingworth and Dimmesdale as an advantageous one. and given over to the machinations of his deadliest enemy. especially without giving anything in return. deep slumber”? Chillingworth moves the cloth that covers Dimmesdale’s chest to discover something that reveals the secret of Dimmesdale’s soul. and gnawed and tortured by some black trouble of the soul. and begins digging “into the poor clergyman’s heart. Dimmesdale had achieved a brilliant popularity in his sacred office. Chapter 10: “The Leech and His Patient” 1. indeed. He becomes obsessed. he claims that a doctor—or any man—who is only told the outer troubles. presumably a letter A etched into the minister’s skin by whipping or other form of self-mutilation. possibly in quest of a jewel that had been buried on the dead man’s bosom. his power of experiencing and communicating emotion. 7. like the devil. 8. 5. once a man’s reputation is tarnished with sin. 4. his physician. A person who clings to another for personal gain. Considering Chillingworth’s goal.” 2. His intellectual gifts. Any bloodsucking or carnivorous auatic or terrestrial worm. Chillingworth has become a parasite to Dimmesdale. Chapter 11: “The Interior of a Heart” 1. With this question. the physical symptoms. desirous only of truth” though the purpose of his investigation was “of human passions and wrongs inflicted on himself. the Reverend Mr. while others suspect something sinister in Chillingworth. the reader assumes that Chillingworth is speculating that Dimmesdale is hiding in his heart the sin of adultery committed with Hester. What secret does Chillingworth believe is buried in Dimmesdale’s heart? He asks Dimmesdale if he. 6. like a miner searching for gold. What “investigation” consumes Chillingworth? He began an investigation “with the severe and equal integrity of a judge. What reaction does Pearl have to Chillingworth when she sees him with Rev. by his sorrows. has been given all of the facts. may only know half of the issue at hand. a blessing as the minister has become so ill. 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. Who is Chillingworth’s main suspect and victim? Dimmesdale 3.” meaning he cannot be unbiased in his pursuits. and usually with the implication or effect of exhausting the other’s resources In an essence. or rather. in great part. What discovery does Chillingworth make when Dimmesdale “fell into a deep. he is incapable of doing good deeds—namely God’s work—within the community because he is no longer viewed as pious and good. is obsessed with reaching and possessing the depths of a man’s soul. Dimmesdale? She yells to Hester. his moral perceptions. telling her to run away before the Black Man gets her as he has already gotten Reverend Dimmesdale. What effect does Reverend Dimmesdale’s guilt have upon his popularity in the colony? “While thus suffering under bodily disease. What is a leech? What double meaning does the word “leech” have? 1. He won it. certain types used in medicine formerly for bloodletting 2. citing a change in his appearance that makes him look evil and darker as he spends more time investigating what ails the minister. how might one compare him to the devil? He. were kept in a state of preternatural . In this.

What promise does Dimmesdale refuse to make to Pearl? He refuses to stand with Hester and Pearl. If he is sleepwalking. Oftentimes. but rigorously. as an act of penance.” 2. 2. 3.” Chapter 12: “The Minister’s Vigil” 1. or keeping awake. night after night. in order to purify the body and render it the fitter medium of celestial illumination. means regret or salvation in this case. this dream reveals the inner secrets of his subconscious—to reveal the truth of his guilt and sin. already overshadowed the soberer reputations of his fellow clergymen. too. and perhaps actually under the influence of a species of somnambulism” or sleepwalking. as it were. 3. He thus typified the constant introspection wherewith he tortured. “Why. Symbolically. under lock and key. to fast—not however. which means punishment. laughing bitterly at himself te while. Penitence however. 3. likewise. this Protestant and Puritan divine had plied it on his own shoulders. Even so. 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. an angel. It was his custom. himself. 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. it describes all the pain and vigil Dimmesdale had held in order to regain favor from God. 6. eminent as severl of them were. A devotional watching. 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. He kept vigils. Dimmesdale’s secret closet. What practices does Dimmesdale begin as a result of his guilt? “In Mr. sometimes with the glimmering lamp. there was bloody scourge. viewing his own face in a looking glass. sometimes in utter darkness. 4. the townspeople interpret the A to be meant for the Governor Winthrop. who has passed away during the night. and smiting so much the more pitilessly because of that bitter laugh. as it has been that of many other pious Puritans. 5. but could not purify. hand in hand. 2. 2. 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. 4. What is a vigil? 1. by the most powerful light which he could throw upon it. His fame. What is miraculous about the meteor? The meteor casts a scarlet A in the sky. the A may serve as a reminder of the sin that unites the family that now stands on the scaffold together. But yet he never felt forgiven. then. Quote a line that shows Chillingworth as a symbol of evil. though still on its upward slop. and sometimes. and until his knees trembled beneath him. . like them. had he come hither? Was it but the mockery of penitence?” The penance. is perhaps the physical mutilation which Dimmesdale had inflicted upon himself and the psychological torture which is brought upon by Roger Chillingworth. on the scaffold at noon the next day.activity by the prick and anguish of his daily life.

undertake a devil’s office. … there seemed to be no longer anything in Hester’s face for Love to dwell upon. this chapter shows Hester questioning “the whole race of womanhood. yet carefully guarded look. Ever and anon. had altogether vanished. calm and quiet. They have come to see the A not as a symbol of her sin. leaving a bare and harsh outline which might have been repulsive. it was blown into a momentary flame. standing there with a smile and scowl. but the latter played him false. he bore his age well and seemed to retain a wiry vigor and alertness. to the constant analysis of a heart full of torture. he fancied himself given over to a fiend. though majestic and statue-like. the town has now come to accept her. old Roger Chillingworth was a striking evidence of man’s faculty of transforming himself into a devil. It might be partly owing to the studied austerity of her dress. As a first step. the ethereal essence. a quiet force that does not bring harm to others and refuses to accept harm from those who are determined to attack her. nothing in Hester’s bosom to make it ever again the pillow of Affection. though it may keep woman quiet. in which. How has Hester’s appearance changed? “All the light and graceful foliage of her character had been withered up by this red-hot brand. with a woman’s strength. too. will be found to have evaporated. and partly to the lack of demonstration in her manners. has she possessed friends or companions to be repelled by it. “He knew that no friendly hand was pulling at his heart-strings. to claim his own. and been succeeded by an eager. that Passion would ever dream of clasping in its embrace. The unhappy person had effected such a transformation by devoting himself.” Chapter 13: “Another View of Hester” 1. woman cannot take advantage of these preliminary reforms until she herself have undergone a still mightier change. It seemed to be his wish and purpose to mask this expression with a smile. to be . is to be essentially modified before woman can be allowed to assume what seems a fair and suitable position. there came a glare of red light out of his eyes. and that an eye was looking curiously into him. and flickered over his visage so derisively. and strove to look as if nothing of the kind had happened.” ***This chapter has come to be known as the feminist chapter as Hester is viewed as capable and strong. But the former aspect of an intellectual and studious man. but as a sign of her being “Able” because “so strong was Hester Prynne. What does Hester resolve to do? She plans to meet with Chillingworth in order to save Dimmesdale from his grasps. the very nature of the opposite sex. and dismissed the point as settled. Cite the page number. Finally. if he will only. that the spectator could see his blackness all the better for it. until by some casual puff of passion. for seven years. as if the old man’s soul were on fire. she had long ago decided in the negative. How has the townspeople’s view changed toward Hester? The town has grown accustomed to Hester and his scarlet letter. for though the traces of advancing life were visible. too. the whole system of society is to be torn down and built up anew. nothing in Hester’s form. Then. A tendency to speculation. and because her crime has not been continually irritated. and adding fuel to those fiery tortures which he analyzed and gloated over. such a hopeless task before her. for a reasonable space of time. In a word. and had long ago fallen away.” 2. Quote at least one line that directly associates Chillingworth with the devil. which was what she best remembered in him. that her rich and luxuriant hair had either been cut off.“…Roger Chillingworth have passed with them for the archfiend. which sought only evil. It was a sad transformation. Even the attractiveness of her person had undergone a similar change. even to the happiest among them? As concerned her own individual existence. How old is Pearl in this chapter? Seven 2. Chapter 14: “Hester and the Physician” 1.” 4. as it does man. How has Roger Chillingworth changed in the past 7 years? “It was not so much that he had grown older. all other difficulties being obviated.” 3. searching. Was existence worth accepting. that not a shining lock of it ever once gushed into the sunshine. wherein she has her truest life. and found it. it may be. and kept on smoldering within his breast. perhaps. But he knew not that the eye and hand were mine! With the superstition common to his brotherhood. yet makes her sad. This he repressed as speedily as possible. almost fierce. and deriving his enjoyment thense. or its long hereditary habit which has become like nature. She discerns. or was so completely hidden by a cap. Also.

for I wear nothing on my bosom yet!” The sunlight shines on Pearl as she plays. What symbolic meaning could the sunlight have? Why does sunlight shine on Pearl and not on Hester? “Mother. and even yet neither dead nor asleep. She hates him. That Chillingworth is her husband 5. a good way off. when she grows up. I am but a child. and despair of pardon. as a foretaste of what awaits him beyond the grave. there is the implication is that Pearl mistakes the A to mean “adult. What revelation is she going to make to Reverend Dimmesdale. but when Hester approaches reaching out her hand to grasp some it. In the scene.tortured with frightful dreams. and because Pearl has not committed a dark sin like Hester. “the sunshine does not love you. with a face that haunted men’s memories longer than they liked” – She is disgusted and repulsed by the man that he has become. Now.” Page 124 Chapter 15: “Hester and Pearl” 1. probably because the Puritans view their world in a way that limits them from admitting the sin that is obvious in their minister. Chapter 16: “A Forest Walk” 1.” If so. Pearl’s persistence with the questioning. the child makes a connection that people in the town have failed to make. the sun will stray from her as it does her mother. 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. Stand you here. 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. and desperate thoughts. “With the superstition common to his brotherhood. the sting of remorse. It will not flee from me. but believes Pearl too young to know the truth. see! There it is. 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. because it is afraid of something on your bosom. Symbolically. Read Hester’s description of Chillingworth carefully. playing. 2. and despair of pardon. but also the thing that soothes “the sorrow that lay cold in her mother’s heart” so that Hester might “overcome the passion. What does Hester want Chillingworth to do? Stop causing harm to Dimmesdale 4. It runs away and hides itself.” Page 124 3. 3. He has created delusions in the man and caused his soul continual torment. but only imprisoned within” her tomblike heart. What effect has Chillingworth had on Dimmesdale? Quote a line to support your answer. once so wild. the sun is the light. he has erased any goodness in his soul and become a nightmare. and desperate thoughts. the sting of remorse. Hester wonders if it is possible that Pearl—her blessing and retribution—is meant not only to be her reminder of her sin. makes her forget these thoughts because it becomes apparent that Pearl is not showing sympathy to her mother but rather continuing to torture her. 2. and let me run and catch it. though. How does she feel about him? “A deformed old figure. as a foretaste of what awaits him beyond the grave. in essence. Oddly. Describe the scene with Hester and Pearl in the sunlight.” said little Pearl. to be tortured with frightful dreams. the sunshine disappears. What story has Pearl heard about the “black man”? . he fancied himself given over to a fiend.

What is Dimmesdale’s “secret poison his malignity. 5. saying that they can go away to England or Germany or another part of Europe to escape the town and Chillingworth. Sin has tortured him. This scarlet letter is his mark. 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. 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. one—nay. the mark of the scarlet letter is a mark of sin which links it to the temptations supposedly provided by the devil. he has not been it a situation which would lead him to consider leaving the colony like Hester has as an outcast from society. Symbolically. 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. supposedly showing the side of him which the Devil has touched. 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. Chapter 18: “A Flood of Sunshine” 1. why should we not speak of it—still so passionately loved!” 5. I never should have lost it! But. He then decides that. What is Dimmesdale’s decision in response to Hester’s plea that they leave the colony? Cite a quote and page number to support your answer. “Once in my life. “Such was the ruin to which she had brought the man. . What does Hester mean when she says. Chapter 17: “The Pastor and His Parishioner” 1. to go with her to find a better life and to be with his love. I am most miserable!” 2. He struggles with the suggestion at first because. she will save him from the torture that Chillingworth has inflicted on him for seven years. the place where he hides the sin which is indicative of the temptations supposedly provided by the devil. Nay. he feels that sin is killing his soul. heavy. infecting all air about him?” Chillingworth is the secret poison whose malign nature is sickening Dimmesdale in Hester’s eyes. and he initially refuses forgiveness though he later does forgive Hester for the secret she kept. From what does Hester hope to save Dimmesdale by telling him the truth about Chillingworth? She believes that in telling him the truth. Yes. Hester is making the statement to quiet Pearl. 4. What is Dimmesdale’s reaction to the truth? His face becomes dark. but in truth. long ere now. all of God’s gifts that were the choicest have become the ministers of spiritual torment. 3. How has Dimmesdale’s secret sin affected his life? Use a quote to support your answers and cite the page number.” Most likely. as matters stand with my soul. Hawthorne suggests.She has heard that the Black Man haunts the forest while carrying a big. I met the Black Man. She then asks Hester if she has met the Black Man. Hester. 4. Cite a page number. “None—nothing bust despair! …Were I an atheist—a man devoid of conscience—a wretch with coarse and brutal instincts—I might have found peace. Does Hester still love Dimmesdale? Use a quote to support your answer. 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 Man’s book and the devil then placed his name on Dimmesdale’s heart. whatever of good capacity there originally was in me. 6.

In being tied to the sins of her parents. How does it happen that Hester is acquainted with the captain of the ship now in the harbor? . I would yet endure. 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. she is angered because she has grown accustomed to the A being on her mother. “Oh. Why is the chapter called. What does Hester do that symbolizes putting the past behind them? Takes off the A and lets down her hair 4. 3. Hester. and how terrible to dread it ! that my own features were part repeated in her face.” Chapter 20: “The Minister in a Maze” 1. and without the A.“If. and Hester’s beauty returns. Pearl is an outcast from the civilized world despite her continued efforts to force her parents to accept the sin they’ve committed (her) much as society does. what a thought is that. What does Dimmesdale mean when he says. 3. 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. When Hester throws down her scarlet letter. the transfiguration foreshadowed in Chapter 13 occurs. she does not think that her mother is what she should be. “A Flood of Sunshine”? This is one of the only chapters in which there is joy for Dimmesdale or Hester to this point. Pearl acts as society’s enforcer. is associated with that darkness. Near the end of this chapter. for the sake of that earnest of Heaven’s mercy. 2. Literally. symbolizing the freedom and hope that the two lovers feel.” How do you account for this wildness in Pearl? The natural world is aligned with the uncivilized/darkness of the Devil. in all these past seven years…I could recall one instant of peace or hope. so powerful is she to sustain—so tender to soothe! O Thou to whom I dare not lift mine eyes. 5. Symbolically. the forest creatures are naturally drawn to Pearl and recognize her as “a kindred wildness. being born of sin. presumably in favor of Dimmesdale. What is Pearl ’s reaction to Dimmesdale? How is Pearl a symbol for Hester and Dimmesdale? She will not show him any favor. Why is Pearl upset when her mother calls her? Realistically. and so strikingly that the world might see them!” He has feared that the world would recognize his features in her appearance. Pearl. her connection to the A suggests that she has also been cast aside by her mother. Chapter 19: “The Child at the Brookside ” 1. she goes so far as to wash his kiss from her forehead. the sunshine floods Hester when she removes the scarlet A and lets down her hair. as Hester would persuade me. But now—since I am irrevocably doomed—wherefore should I not snatch the solace allowed to the condmned culprit before his execution? Or. I surely give up no fairer prospect by pursuing it! Neither can I any longer live without her companionship. What is the “magic touch” that effects the transformation? The removal of the A which allows the sunshine to touch her again. if this be the path to a better life. wilt Thou pardon me!” 2.

his frame was not bent. he recognizes that the issue is not so much about society but about his relationship with God. since Mr. she. What piece of unwelcome news does the master of the ship on which. . according to Chillingworth.” to whom is she referring? They’ve gathered to see the procession of magistrates and ministers as they move to witness the Election Sermon. Dimmesdale first set his foot on the New Englad shore. How does Dimmesdale appear as he leaves the church after his triumphant sermon? “How feeble and pale he looked amid all his triumph!” 2. had he exhibited such energy as was seen in the gait and air with which he kept his pace in the procession. 5. 4. Yet. How does Pearl react when Dimmesdale calls Hester and herself to mount the scaffold with him? “The child.She knows him through her work with charity. 3. with the birdlike motion which was one of her characteristics. his strength seemed not of the body. flew to him. Where does Hester stand during the procession and during Dimmesdale’s sermon in the church? Beside the scaffold Chapter 23 “The Revelation of the Scarlet Letter” and Chapter 24 “Conclusion” 1. What were some of the conjectures made by parishioners as to the origin of the minister’s 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 Chillingworth’s poisoning him over time while still others claim that there was no A on his chest at all. 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. if the clergyman were rightly viewed. Pearl . and Dimmesdale are to sail have for Hester? Chillingworth has made plans to board the ship with them. It might be spiritual. 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. and clasped her arms about his knees. nor did his hand rest ominously upon his heart. forcing him to make himself right in his relationship with God. as at other times. The devil Chapters 21 “The New England Holiday . and imparted to him by the angelical ministrations.” 3. Where. 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. What is particularly noticeable about Dimmesdale’s manner as he walks in the procession? “never. There was no feebleness of step . is the one place where Dimmesdale could have successfully escaped him? On the scaffold 4. 3. He will not be able to escape himself. 2.” 4. as he preaches of the relationship between God and man. Dimmesdale is under the impression that he can separate himself from his sin and the society that holds him to a high standard.” and Chapter 22 “The Procession” 1.

4. with no one to torture. Chillingworth can no longer live. In this novel. For example. Explain Hawthorne’s use of the following as symbols: the scaffold. Cite passages that indicate the isolation of the 3 major characters” Hester. 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 Mistress Hibbins. 3.” Show how the same kind of insight is possessed by Chillingworth. Chillingworth needs Dimmesdale alive for his life to continue having a purpose. The Novel as a Whole 1. 7. .6. they each disregarded the sanctity of the other’s soul in tempting it into sin and pulling it away from salvation. Another consequence of sin in this novel is isolation. the forest. in Chapter 5. One consequence of sin in The Scarlet Letter is that the sinner acquires the ability to sense or recognize the sins of others. Dimmesdale. and Chillingworth. Dimmesdale. Hester realizes that the scarlet letter she wears gives her a “sympathetic knowledge of the hidden sins in others hearts. and 2 examples of situational irony (opposite of what is intended to happen actually happens) in the novel. and poisonous plants. Hawthorne makes extensive use of symbols. weeds. What do you think Dimmesdale means when he describes his and Hester’s sin as violating “our reverence for each other’s soul”? In commiting the sin together. Explain why Chillingworth desperately tries to stop Dimmesdale from confessing his sins on the scaffold? As he is a leech or parasite. 2.

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