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What colony is the setting for the novel?
Where in the colony does the opening chapter take place?
For what 2 “practical necessities” did the new colony set aside land?
cemetary and prison
Who is Anne Hutchinson? How does Hawthorne feel about her?
excommunicated from Puritan church to Rhode Island, beautiful but dangerous
What 2 possible symbols does the rose have for the reader?
pain and beauty
Name 3 crimes and punishments that the Puritans might witness.
execution, whipping, Indian intrusion
What is the relationship between religion and law in Puritan New England?
both are identical and interfused
Describe the Puritan women. Use one quote from the book to support your answer.
broad shoulders, large breast, round-ruddy cheeks The bright morning sun, therefore, shone on broad shoulders and well developed busts, and on round and ruddy cheeks that had ripped in the far off island… New England
What punishments would the Puritan women have given Hester Prynne if it were left to them?
brand her with a hot iron on her forehead
Describe the appearance of Hester Prynne.
dark glossy hair, deep black eyes, elegant staue
What is Hester’s sin? Punishment?
adultery, had to wear Scarlet “A” on her clothes
What is astonishing about the “A” on her bodice?
embroidered finely in red and gold (fancy)
Why is Hester taken to the scaffold in the market place?
so she could be put on display for the people
What things does Hester think about while she is on the scaffold?
her home back in England and her family
How old is her baby?
What detail is given to suggest the baby was born in jail?
the child squinting because of the bright light indicating it was born in the dark jail
Describe the man who is standing on the outskirts of the crowd.
mismatched clothing, thin, one shoulder higher than the other
What prior reference was made in Chapter 2 that reminds the reader of this man?
when Hester was remembering his while thinking of her family
What gesture does he make to Hester that suggests he knows her?
raised his finger in the air and made a gesture
What does the stranger learn from the townsman next to him?
that Hester’s husband sent her ahead to Boston and he had not arrived yet
Who is the father of Hester’s baby?
What is the usual punishment for adultery? Why is Hester’s punishment less severe?
death, because of her age (youth)
What are Hester’s feelings toward the stranger?
very self conscious and afraid
Who is Bellingham?? John Wilson?
Governor of the colony Church teacher and oppenent of Anne Hutchinson, famous revered
What do Bellingham and Wilson want Hester to do?
repent and tell who the father of her child is
young, clergyman, very striking, white lofty impending brow, large brown sad eyes, educated
What is his relationship to Hester? What does he ask her to reveal?
her baby’s father who the father of the baby is
Why won’t Hester name the child’s father?
she stilled loved him
How does Hester act when she returns to prison?
nervous, excitement which caused them to think she was going to hurt herself
Why does the jailer call a doctor?
during the night Hester continues to act nervous and excited which is transferred to the baby and the baby continues to cry
What is the doctor’s name?
Where did the “doctor” learn his skill?
alchemy and Indians
Quote 2 lines that indicate the doctor and Hester know each other before this meeting.
“Dost thou know me so little, Hester Prynne?” “Even if I image a scheme of vengeance, what could I do better for my object”
What is the relationship between Chillingworth and Hester?
husband and wife
Why should Hester’s marriage be a failure?
she never loved Chillingworth because he was old and the marriage was arranged
Did Hester ever love her husband? Quote Hester to support your answer
no “Thou knowest that I was frank with thee, I felt no love nor feigned any”
What does Chillingworth vow to do?
find out who Hester had the baby with
What secret does Chillingworth ask Hester to do?
to keep their marriage a secret
“Hester at Her Needle”
What “general symbol” has Hester become?
fallen woman because it showing all other girls the reality of sin and frailty
Give at least 2 reasons why Hester does not leave the colony
needs the infamy hopes to find her love
Describe Hester’s home
small cottage on the outskirts of town
What talent did Hester use to support herself and Pearl?
What garments is Hester not allowed to sew?
wedding dresses because she might stain the brides purity
What type of dress did Hester wear? Pearl?
coarse, somber repenting fanciful and eloborate
What does Hester do that shows she has a charitable nature?
make coarse garments for the poor
How did the poor, the ladies of Boston, the clergy, and the children treat Hester?
scorn and vilification only liked her garments preached sermons about her laugh at her
What special knowledge does Hester feel the Scarlet Letter gives her?
a new moral sense of recognizing other’s sin
Why did Hester name her child “Pearl”?
because Jesus’ proverb describing heaven “pearl of great price”
Give at least two reasons why Hester does not leave the colony
infamy hopes to refined her love
Describe Hester’s home
small remote cottage
What talent did Hester use to support herself and Pearl?
What does the Scarlet Letter mean to Pearl?
something she plays with on her mom by throwing things at it
What did the townspeople say about Pearl?
“The Governor’s Hall”
Name 2 reasons Hester visits Governor Bellingham.
deliver an ordered pair of gloves plead not to take away Pearl from her
How are the Scarlet Letter and Pearl alike?
they are both beautiful are scorned and looked down upon
“The Elf and the Minister”
Who are the other visitors at the Governor’s house?
Ministers: John Wilson and Arthur Dimmesdale Physician: Roger Chillingworth
How much time has elapsed since the opening scene?
With what creatures of fantasy is Pearl continually compared?
elves and faires
How is Chillingworth changed since Hester last saw him?
yes he is not looking good, darker more deforming
Why does John Wilson question Pearl?
to see if she is being taught religion
How has Rev. Dimmesdale changed since Hester’s public humiliation?
tired/unhappy and scrawny, his health is deteriorated
Who pleads successfully for Hester to keep her child?
To which visitor does Peal respond to lovingly?
What new identity has Chillingworth assumed in Boston? Why is he successful?
doctor because he has different methods of healing learned from the Indians
To whom in the colony does Chillingworth attach himself as a medical advisor?
Dimmesdale and his constant companion
Describe Dimmesdale’s health. See p 123-124
pale weak, keeps putting his hand over his heart
What gesture has become Dimmesdale’s habit?
placing his hand over his heart
Quote a sentence from this chapter that associates Chillingworth with evil.
“Now there was something ugly and evil in his face, which they had not previously noticed and which grew still the more”
What two opposing views do the townspeople hold about Roger Chillingworth?
that he is a wise if somewhat eccentric doctor who can help Dimmesdale that he is a shriveled old man who is bitter and resentful
“The Leech and His Patient”
What “investigation consumes Chillingworth?
finding out who Pearl’s father is
Who is Chillingworth’s main suspect and victim?
What is a leech? What double meaning does the world “leech” have?
blood sucking insect unflattering name for a person who attaches themselves to someone
What secret does Chillingworth believe is buried in Dimmesdale’s heart?
that he is Pearl’s father
Why would Dimmesdale live with guilt and not confess his sin openly?
he fears losing his status in the town he doesn’t want the people looking at him differently
What reaction does Pearl have to Chillingworth when she sees him with Rev. Dimmesdale?
she drags her mother away and says the “Black Man” has gotten the minister
What discovery does Chillingworth make when Dimmesdale “fell into a deep, deep slumber”?
he discovers an “A” on his chest and has no doubt that he is Pearl’s father
“The Interior of a Heart”
What effect does Reverend Dimmesdale’s guilt have upon his popularity in the colony?
his popularity skyrockets and is seen as a miracle of holiness
What practice does Dimmesdale begin as a result of his guilt?
begins tortuing himself inflicts pain on himself fast rigorously and holds vigils
“The Minister’s Vigil”
What is a vigil?
staying up at night for reflection
Where does Dimmesdale hold his vigil?
Why are Hester and Pearl out at night?
Hester went to take measurements for the Governor’s robe
What promise does Dimmesdale refuse to make to Pearl?
he refused to hold hands with Hester and Pearl at noon the next day
what is miraculous about the meteor?
radiates very brightly illuminating the town’s features as if by a warning from God makes trail resembling a red “A”
Quote a line that shows Chillingworth as a symbol of Evil.
“Not the less, he shall be mine”
“Another View of Hester”
How old is Pearl in this Chapter?
How has the townspeople’s view changed toward Hester?
Hester is more active in society she brings food to the poor, nurses the sick source of aid in times of trouble
How has Hester’s appearance changed?
she has become a “bare and harsh” outline of her former self
What does Hester resolve to do ?
resolves to help Dimmesdale by rescuing him from Chillingworth
“Hester and the Physician”
How was Roger Chillingworth changed in the past 7 years?
he has gone from a soft spoken scholar to a fierce man
Quote at least one line that directly associates Chillingworth with the devil. Cite the page number.
“In a word, old Roger Chillinworth was a striking evidence of a man’s faculty of transforming himself into a devil”. p 159
What does Hester want Chillingworth to do?
she wants him to reveal his true identity to the minister
What revelation is she going to make to Reverend Dimmesdale.
to reveal that Chillingworth was her husband
What effect has Chillingworth had on Dimmesdale? Quote a line to support your answer.
made Dimmesdale feel weary and uncomfortable “He has an influence dwelling always upon him like a curse
“Hester and Pearl”
Read Hester’s description of Chillingworth carefully. How does she fell about him?
she feels that he is wicked and devilish she hates him
What questions does Pearl ask her mother? Why does this trouble Hester?
What teh scarlet letter means, why she wears it and why Dimmesdale hold his hand over his heart doesn’t know what to tell her
“A Forest Walk”
Where does Hester plan to meet Dimmesdale?Why?
in the open air, the forest to tell him the truth
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?
sentimental, yet the sun is sporadic in shining happiness and new beginning Pearl has no scarlet letter
What story has Pearl heard about the “black man”?
that he haunts the forest and offers his book to be signed in blood
What does Hester mean when she says, “Once in my life, I met the Black Man. This scarlet letter is his mark.”
that she signed the black man’s book inflicted upon her by the black man
Why does Pearl think the minister holds his hand over his heart? How is there symbolic truth in what she says?
she thinks the black man has inflicted his mark on Dimmesdale in a way Dimmesdale signed the book with his adultery
“The Pastor and His Parishioner”
How has Dimmesdale’s secret sin affected his life? Use a quote to support your answer and cite the page number
he feels more miserable and guilty “Hester I am most miserable what can a ruined soul like mine effect towards other souls”
What is Dimmesdale’s “secret poison his malignity, infecting all air about him?”
Chillingworth and his presence
From what does Hester hope to save Dimmesdale by telling him the truth about Chillingworth?
Chillingworth’s continual torture of Dimmesdale
Does Hester still love Dimmesdale? Use a quote to support your answer. Cite page number
Yes Why should he not speak it? still so passionately loved P183
What is Dimmesdale’s reaction to the truth?
shocked, but calms down and forgives Hester
What future plans does Hester suggest to Dimmesdale as a way to escape Chillingworth?
to escape the town, to another village or overseas
“A Flood of Sunshine”
What is Dimmesdal’e decision in response to Hester’s plea that they leave the colony? Cite a quote and page number to support your answer
he is happy and optimistic “Dimmesdale gazed into Hester’s face with a look in which hop and joy shone out” p189
Why is the chapter called, “A Flood of Sunshine”?
in the darkness of Hester aw Dimmesdale, a new hope shines and brightness on them
What does Hester do that symbolizes putting the past behind them?
she tosses scarlet letter on the ground and releases her hair cap
What is the sunshine a symbol of?
new gleaming hope and a better future for Hester and Dimmesdale
When Hester throws down her scarlet letter, the transfiguration foreshadowed Chapter 13 occurs, and Hester’s beauty returns. What is the “magic touch” that effects the transformation?
the undoing of her hair cap
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?
she was born in the wildness, between the adultery of Hester and Dimmesdale
“The Child at the Brookside”
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!
that he feared that people would see that Pearl looked like him
Why is Pearl upset when her mother calls her?
she is jealous of Dimmesdale and Hester together and does not see the scarlet letter
What is Pearl’s reaction to Dimmesdale? How is Pearl a symbol for Hester and Dimmesdale?
she is jealous and doesn’t like him she is a symbol of the unusual union between Hester and Dimmesdale
“The Minister in a Maze”
Where have Hester and Dimmesdale decided to go when they leave Boston? Why do they choose to go to Europe rather than remain in the New World?
Europe it is more sheltering and concealing than America
How does it happen that Hester is acquainted with the captain of the ship now in the harbor?
through her charity work
Why does Dimmesdale consider it fortunate that the ship is not to sail for 4 days?
it gave him time to retire from his career
When Mistress Hibbens offers to introduce Dimmesdale to “yonder potentate you wot of,” to whom is she referring?
the black man
Chapter 21 and Chapter 22
“The New England Holiday,” “The Procession
What have the crowds of people gathered in the market place to witness?
the election day ceremonies and celebration
Of what ceremony in England was the Election Day pageantry a pale imitation?
the royal coronation
What piece of unwelcome news does the master of the ship on which she, Pearl, and Dimmesdale are to sail have for Hester?
Chillingworth would be on the ship
What is particularly noticeable about Dimmesdale’s manner as he walks in the procession?
he seemed more strong and able but his mind is elsewhere
Where does Hester stand during the procession and during Dimmesdale’s sermon in the church?
beside the scaffold
Chapter 23 and Chapter 24
“The Revelation of the Scarlet Letter” “Conclusion”
How does Dimmesdale appear as he leaves the church after his triumphant sermon?
feeble and pale
How does Pearl react when Dimmesdale calls Hester and herself to mount the scaffold with him?
she flocks to and embraces Dimmesdale
Where according to Chillinworth is the onel place where Dimmesdale could have successfully escaped him?
What were some of the conjectures made by parishioners as to the origin of the minister’s scarlet letter?
Dimesdale did it to himself Chillinsworth did it with Black Magic his guilt manifested its self
What explanation for the events of Election Day is made by the minister’s friends to make him seem blameless?
Dimmesdale was using it to teach a lesson about sinning
Dimmesdale enters the church energetically and upright to give his sermon; he leaves it stooped and tottering. How would you account for each of these quite different ways he carried himself? What might we assume has happened to him during the course of the sermon?
it drains all of his energy
Explain why Chillingworth desperatley tries to stop Dimmesdale from confessing his sins on the scaffold? What do you think Dimmesdale means when he describes his and Hester’s sin as violating “our reverence for each other’s soul”?
he wants to continue to torture Dimmesdale to get hes vengence
THE NOVEL AS A WHOLE
One consequence of sin in THE SCARLET LETTER is that the sinner acquires the ability to sense or recognize the sin 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 other hearts.” Show how the same kind of insight is possessed by Chillingworth, Dimmesdale, and Mistress Hibbens.
Dimmesdale’s sin made him physically ill, but still had to uphold his position as a preacher. He knows if the community found out that he had committed such a sin, he would be looked at differently and have to pay for his crime. He suppressed his guilt, over both his sin and the fact that Hester refuses to name her lover, and that is when he becomes physically sick. He submerges himself in his work in writing sermons. His congregation admired him for his spiritual insight, but internally, he is spiritually stricken, and heartsick which made him sick from his sin.
Chillingworth turns into an obsessed stalker of Hester and Dimmesdale. He developed an evil nature and wanted revenge. Chillingworth and Hester did not share a loving marriage, and when he returned, all he wanted to do was to hurt people. Chillingworth revenge was blacker than sin.
Mistress Hibbins was a widow who lived with her brother, Governor Bellingham. She was known to be a witch who would venture into the forest at night to meet with the “Black Man.” Her character in the book was of false claims and hidden evil in a Puritan society. Her arrivals were mysterious and would set off regret in Dimmesdale and Hester.
Another consequence of sin in this novel is isolation. Cite passages that indicate the isolation of the 3 major characters’ Hester, Dimmesdale, Chillingworth.
In this novel, Hawthorne makes extensive use of symbols—- people, places or objects that re made to take on a larger meaning. Explain briefly Hawthorne’s use of the following as symbols: the scaffold, the forest, weeds, and poisonous plants.
Some readers believe that the elaborate decoration that Hester embroiders on teh scarlet letter indicates her rejection of the community’s view of her act. Do you agree or disagree? Explain.
I disagree with this statement. Hester shows that she knows what her punishment is and that she got a lucky break. She stays in town and accepts the ridicule that comes with her punishment. People treat her poorly and she expected it. Hester did not defy or try to lessen her punishment by crafting a elaborate letter, she merely embraces it.
Find 2 examples of verbal irony. 2 Examples of dramatic irony, and 2 examples of situation irony in the novel.
One Irony was that of the scarlet letter was suppose to bring humility, yet the way she decorated the letter with gold was all but humble. That also the scarlet letter was of the color scarlet, which can be seen as the color of power or royalty. Another form of irony is at the end where Dimmsdale walked back into the village after talking to Hester in the Forest he suddenly wanted to do wicked things, to mock the very people that mocked Hester.