Scarlet Letter Quotes Flashcard Example #54639

” He had been driven hither by the impulse of that Remorse which dogged him everywhere, and whose own sister and closely linked companion was that Cowardice which invariably drew him back, with her tremulous gripe, just when the other impulse has hurried him to the verge of disclosure.”
Speaker: narrator

Literary Device: Personification –> “Remorse” and “Cowardice” acting as people

Context: talking about Dimmesdale when he is up on the scaffold at night, his torn emotions

Importance: shows how Dimmesdale is torn between his emotions of fear (of the judgement of him community and God) and his emotions of regret (he feels awful for what he has done – want to own up for it) ; Dimmesdale has to choose which path to go down- one of secrecy forever, filled with regret, or owning up to his sins and openly repenting to God

“The victim was forever on the rack; it needed only to know the spring that controlled the engine;– and they physician knew it well.”
Speaker: Narrator

Literary device: metaphor –> spring that controls the engine = Dimmesdale’s secret
allusion — the rack = torture device

Context: talking about Chillingworth’s influence on Dimmesdale’s actions (both his current influence on everyday things since they live together, and the potential influence he could have due on Dimm to the fact that Chill knows his secret)

Importance: draws attention to how Chillingworth has control over Dimmesdale

“Without any effort of his will, or power to restrain himself, he shrieked aloud; an outcry that went pealing into the night, and was beaten back from one house to another, and reverberated from the hills in the background; as if a company of devils, detecting so much misery and terror in it, had made a plaything of the sound, and were bandying it to and fro.”
Speaker: Narrator

Literary Device: simile –> “as if a company of devils…”

Context: Dimmesdale is on the scaffold at night, feeling torn inside, and lets out a very loud scream unconsciously

Importance: shows the terror and misery of his scream; emphasizes how loud it was — all of the town and beyond (evils!) could hear it

“Since that day, no man is no near to him as you. You tread behind his every footstep. You are beside him, sleeping and waking. You search his thoughts. You burrow and rankle in his heart.”
Speaker: Hester

Literary device: metaphor–> comparing Chillingworth to a serpent/bug/worm…Serpent=evil just like Chillingworth

Context: Hester is disturbed by Chillingworth being so clingy to Dimmesdale – trying to figure out if he knows about them

Importance: clearly illustrates not only Chillingworth’s actions towards Dimmesdale, but shows you that Hester knows too

“A writhing horror twisted itself across his features, like a snake gliding swiftly over them, and making one little pause, with all its wreathed intervolutions in open sight.”
Speaker: Narrator

Literary Device: Simile –> “like a snake…”

Context: when Chillingworth has just arrived at the town and sees Hester on the scaffold, and asks a person in the crown why. the reason he hears is the cause of this reaction

Importance: shows that he is very upset, and evil (snake = devil)

“She never created a friend, but seemed always to be sowing broadcast the dragon’s teeth, whence sprung a harvest of armed enemies, against whom she rushed to battle.”
Speaker: narrator

Literary device: allusion –> Greek myth, Athena tells warrior to do these things (plant teeth, grow enemies)

Context: talking about Pearl when she is little (they they are describing they life for the first 7 years in the cabin)

Importance: Pearl also on has Hester, no friends~unusual for a kid her age, shows how she is weird —- imagines enemies?

“See ye not, she is the scarlet letter…”
Speaker: Hester

Literary Device: metaphor –> Pearl = scarlet letter

Context: in Governor Bellingham’s house. talking about Hester and Pearl (wither Hester can keep her or not)

Importance: Pearl = scarlet letter
. punishment to her mother
. only thing Hester has left
. wearing bright red – very decorative (physically looks like the scarlet letter)

“I have no Heavenly Father!”
Speaker: Pearl

Literary device: none

Context: when Pearl is asking Hester where she came from, and Hester says “from the heavenly father”

Importance: Pearl doesn’t know that Dimmesdale is her father / doesn’t really accept that he is

“All his strength and energy- all his vital and intellectual force- seemed at once to desert him; insomuch that he positively withered up, shriveled away, and almost vanished from the mortal sight, like an uprooted weed that lies wilting in the sun.”
Speaker: Narrator

Literary device: simile –> “like an uprooted weed that lies wilting in the sun”

Context: talking about Chillingworth’s transformation after Dimmesdale dies

Importance: Chillingworth’s purpose in life was for revenge on Dimmesdale — now that he is dead, his goal fufilled, he has no reason to live

“Hester’s strong, calm, steadfastly enduring spirit almost sand, at last, on beholding this dark and grim countenance of an inevitable doom, which- at that moment when a passage seemed to open for the minister and herself out of their labyrinth of misery- showed itself, with an unrelenting smile, right in the midst of their path.”
Speaker: Narrator

Literary device: personification –> “showed itself with an unrelenting smile”

Context: revealed to Hester via Pearl about Chillingworth’s plan to bomb her and RAD’s escape – Chill smiles at her from across the crowd -> Hester despairs

Importance: Hester is thrown into misery and despair again — No escape
Chillingworth knows about RAD and Hester’s relationship — who knows what he will do! (since he wants revenge more than anything else)

“Assuredly, as the minister looked back, he beheld an expression of divine gratitude and ecstasy that seemed like the shine of a celestial city on her face, so wrinkled and ashy pale.”
Speaker:narrator

Literary device: simile –> “like the shine…”

Context: Dimmesdale giving advice to the old lady (in the street)

Importance: Dimmesdale doesnt believe anymore — her wrinkled and ashy face shows just as much “divine gratitude” and spiritual knowledge as he did–> NONE. he thinks that what he just said to her was absolute crazy nothingness

“But there lay the embroidered letter, glittering like a lost jewel, which some ill-fated wanderer might pick up, and thenceforth be haunted by strange phantoms of guilt, sinkings of the heart, and unaccountable misfortune.”
Speaker: narrator

Literary device: simile -; “like a lost jewel…”
irony that the “jewel” will only bring “great misfortune” to the owner

Context: Hester has cast down the scarlet letter on the forest floor, it lays there

Importance: while the “A” may look pretty, it seals you face in misfortune and desparity – locks it in place
. when Hester takes off the A, she transforms as if all her trouble are immediately gone -; A = lock

” For many years, though a vague report would now and then find its way across the sea,—like a shapeless piece of driftwood tost ashore, with the initials of a name upon it,—yet no tidings of them unquestionably authentic were received.”
Speaker: narrator

Literary device: simile –> ” like a shapeless piece of driftwood”

Context: talking about news about Pearl to the Bostonians once she and Hester leave

Importance: people of the town never really hear about Pearl again- she disappears from their lives and their society — pearl has left that part of herself behind —- she is freed!

“Surely, surely, we have ransomed one another, with all this woe!”
Speaker: Hester

Literary device: metaphor –> ransom = payment
jesus-> ransom for sin

Context: trying to convince Dimmesdale to not give up and die and blame himself

Importance: Hester thinks that their sorrows/grief should have canceled out their sins – that they are okay now — while she is comforting Dimmesdale, she is also trying to comfort herself

“But she named the infant ‘Pearl’ as being of great price,– purchased with all she had,– her mother’s only treasure!”
Speaker: Narrator

Literary device: simile–> “as being of great price”

Context: first description of Pearl herself

Importance: not only is Pearl valuable to Hester in that she is her child, but also that Pearl came at a high price
. loves her, and is tortured by her

“Sometimes a light glimmered out of the physician’s eyes, burning blue and ominous, like the reflection of a furnace, or, let us say, like one of those gleams of ghastly fire that darted from Bunyan’s awful doorway in the hill-side, and quivered on the pilgrim’s face.”
Speaker: Narrator

Literary device: simile–> “like the reflection of a furnace”
“like one of those gleams of ghastly fire…”
. allusion –> Paul Bunyan

Context: talking about Chillingworth’s demeanor – how he acts, what he does, etc

Importance: he gets really excited only when hes onto something about finding something out about Hester — the only thing he is living for is revenge

“… as if a company of devils, detecting so much misery and terror in it, had made a plaything of the sound, and were bandying it to and fro.”
This is on the study guide twice. so. its probubly gonna be on the exam. (the other one includes a little bit more of the quote at the beginning)

Speaker: Narrator

Literary Device: simile –> “as if a company of devils…”

Context: Dimmesdale is on the scaffold at night, feeling torn inside, and lets out a very loud scream unconsciously

Importance: shows the terror and misery of his scream; emphasizes how loud it was — all of the town and beyond (evils!) could hear it

“they needed something slight and casual to run before, and throw open the doors of intercourse, so that their real thoughts might be led across the threshold.”
Speaker: Narrator

Literary device: metaphor –> threshold = their true feelings / what has been on their minds

Context: when Hester and Dimmesdale are just starting to talk when they meet in the forest

Importance: shows that they just don’t resume to their close relationship – but both want and need to get their true feelings across to the other — both worried about the other, have always cared but were to scared to be open about it

“…an unfinished sermon, with a sentence broken in the midst, where his thoughts had ceased to gush out upon the page two days before.”
Speaker: Narrator

Literary device: metaphor –> unfinished sermon = him feeling / being incomplete

Context: talking about Dimmesdales sermon sitting on his desk, how he couldn’t finish it

Importance: the fact that it was already unfinished means that he was uncertain in the truth of what he was writing; now Dimmesdale has made up his mind – his mentality is now completely changed. he rewrited his sermon – determination to be truthful, displays that he is a changed man now

“the stream still kept up a murmuring babble, with not a whit more cheerfulness of tone than for ages heretofore.”
Speaker: Narrator

Literary device: personification – “murmuring”

Context: when Hester and RAD and Pearl are leaving the forest – how they are leaving the forest (how the forest, acting like people, is dealing with what just happened)

Importance: shows something isnt quite right with the apparent joyful event of finally working stuff out between Hester and RAD —- foreshadows that things will not go as planned!

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