The Scarlet Letter Flashcard Example #11496

What important elements of romanticism does The Scarlet Letter contain?
National past- seen everywhere in novel
novel was written in 1850 but took place in 1600s in a Puritan Town

Inner working of the human mind
-When dimmesdale is on the scaffold at midnight
-Chased by remorse and guilt
-Wants to confess, but he does not war to mess up his reputation
-Hester thinks about killer herself and pearl
-Puritans sough pure society but right away they had to build a jail and cemetery
-Hawthorne suggest sin and death are part of the human experience

Beauty of Nature:
-Rose bush: wild, fragrant, delicate (positive terms)
-Gives hope to Hester
-Hawthorne as a Romantic Writer** = reveals the romantic belief in the beauty and sympathy of nature
-H+D in the forest
-Hester lets down her hair and takes off the A
-Sun comes out and shines on her
-The leaves changed from “yellow to gold” (positive change)
-Wild child: Pearl

Quickly describe the plot of The Scarlett Letter.
-Hester and “Roger Chillingworth” were married in England; went to Amsterdam
-He sent her ahead to the colonies
-he was shipwrecked
-captured by Indians
-ransomed (traded) back to the colonies
Roger Chillingworth:
-Scholar / doctor
-read ppls hearts

Arthur Dimmesdale:
-young minister
-clergyman from England

Explain the symbolic Rosebush.
Symbol of the “sweet moral blossom… found along the track”
A natural thing
Suggests a world beyond the narrow confines of the Puritan community, where beauty and vibrant colors flourish and crime finds tolerance and pity
When Pearl is asked where she came from or who made her
Pearl said her mother plucked her off the rosebush by the prison door
The author wants us to believe that there is a relationship between Pearl and a wild thing in nature
Like the rosebush, Pearl is exempt from rule and regulations
She flourishes outside the realm of human law
Pearl has a peculiar claim to freedom
Explain how the name Pearl is symbolic.
“The pearl of great price”
Her life has been purchased at the price of her mother’s honor and reputation
It was a great price that Hester kept her daughter and tired to raise her on her own
Staying in the community – pearl has been the living symbol of the Scarlet Letter
She looks like the letter
All dressed in Red
She is the product of her mother’s sin and punishment
Hester says of Pearl that she is her happiness and her pain
B/c she was conceived in lawlessness
Pearl lives a life disobeying rules
Thus symbolizing the chaos in which she was created and lives
She is a reminder of the consequence of sin for her mother
Explain how the Leech is symbolic.
A blood sucking insect/ an archaic meaning of a physician
Doctors were known as leeches b/c of their common practice of bleed patients
It was thought to rid the body of bad humors
Chillingworth has a role as doctor and emotional parasite
He is now a man who lives off another’s sufferings
His life is dependant on Dimmesdale.
Revenge is his sole reason to exist
A leach is a parasite that dies along with its host
What is the “symbolic kiss”?
Dimmesdale recognizes Pearl as his child on the scaffold as he’s dying
“Dear little Pearl – wilt thou kiss me now? Tho wouldst not, yonder, in the forest! But now thou wilt!”
Pearl kissed his lips
A spell was broken
The great scene of grief
In which the wild infant bore a part, had developed all her sympathies, and as her tears fell upon her father’s check, they were the pledge that she would grow up amid human joy and sorrow, nor forever do battle with the world, but be a women in it
Towards her mother too. Pearls errand as a messenger of anguish was all fulfilled
She is truly touched for the first time in her life
The wicked imp vanished, replaced by a little girl with a heart
Explain the symbol of the Scarlett Letter “A”.
Color of scarlet red signifies a harlot, sin
Able (when people begin to respect Hester as being a strong, able woman)
Explain the symbol of the Meteor in the sky.
Dimmesdale, Hester, Pearl join hands on the scaffold at midnight
See a meteor form the red letter “A”
This emphasizes the symbolic association of Dimmesdale with Hester’s scarlet letter

Ironically, one of Dimmesdale’s church members thinks the meteor stands for an “Angel”

Explain the following theme:
Sin/effect of sin.
Sin links four major character
It humiliated Hester
Torments Dimmesdale
Pushed Chillingworth to revenge
Is symbolized in Pearl
Explain the following theme:
Role of Women
Novel shows the inferior status of women

Chillingworth sees Hester as property stolen by a their

Hester thinks about the “race of womanhood” and hopes that things will better in the future

(See quote, pg. 235, “A new truth will be revealed… mutual happiness.”)

Explain the following theme:
Guilt is Dimmesdale’s major conflict
He feels pulled between his Puritan conscience and his natural instincts
Explain the following theme:
Hester has emotional, economic, and social hardships

She keeps courage out of hope that Dimmesdale will confess his responsibility and reunite with her

She wavers between hope and despair until the forest meeting with Dimmesdale, when she recognizes her desire to leave Boston with her lover and her child

Her hopes are destroyed by Dimmesdale’s death, yet she survives and carries on

Explain the following theme:
(A.) Hester “repents” through good works and gradually earns respect
However she is not penitent, for she does not regret her sin
She still loves Dimmesdale; therefore the scarlet letter has not done its full job

(B.) Dimmesdale repents in his confession and is “saved” by death

(C.) Chillingworth does not repent from evil revenge and is finally killed by it

Explain the following theme:
Dimmesdale, a revered minister who delivers sermons that inspire faith is secretly an adulterer
Explain the following theme:
Appearance vs. Reality
Hawthorne exposes the reality behind the public image of his characters

Hester is judged to be a guilty harlot even though she is actually loyal and loving

Dimmesdale appears to be a dedicated, virtuous (honest) clergyman, but he is actually a weak, terrified sinner” who shirks responsibility.

Chillingworth appears to be a devoted doctor, but s vengeful and evil

These contrasts show the difference between community standards and individual values

Explain the following quote:
“The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariable recognized it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the origin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the sire of a prison”
Hawthorne suggests that in spite of the Puritans’ desire for a New Jerusalem, they realized early on that sin and death are inevitable
Explain the following quote:
“Hadst! Thou sought the whole earth over, … there was no one place so secretly, –no high place nor lowly place, where thou couldst have escaped me, –save on this very scaffold!”
Chillingworth tells Dimmesdale the scaffold is the only place the minister could escape the devil
Explain the following quote:
“The moment that he did so, there came what seemed a tumultuous rush of new life, other than his own, pouring like a torrent into his heart, and hurrying through his veins, as if the mother and the child were communicating their vital warmth to his half-torpid system. The tree formed an electric chain”
Dimmesdale feels revived when he acknowledges his family
Explain the following quote:
“There played around her mouth, and came out of her eyes, a radiant and tender smile, that seemed to gush from the very heart of womanhood. A crimson flush was glowing on her check that had been long so pale. Her sex, her youth, and the richness of her beauty, came back from when men call the irrevocable past, and clustered themselves, with her maiden hope, and a happiness before unknown, within the magic circle of this hour”
Hester’s natural femininity returns to her when she takes off the Puritan- enforced “A”
Explain the following quote:
“In her was the visible tie that united them. She had been offered to the world, these seven years past, as the living hieroglyphic, in which was revealed the secret they so darkly sought to hide—all written in this symbol,– all plainly manifest,– had there been a prophet or magician skilled to read the character of flame!”
If one looked carefully at Pearl, he or she might be able to sunrise who her parents are
Explain the following quote:
“Thus she will be a living sermon against sin, until the ignomious letter be engraved upon her tombstone. It irksome, nevertheless, that the partner of her iniquity should not, at least, stand on the scaffold by her side. But he will be known! – He will be known!..”
Chillingworth says Hester will be a walking example of sin, and through his words Hawthorne foreshadows that the father’s identity will be revealed
Explain the following quote:
“Dost thou remember me… as I was nine years agone? Even then, I was in the autumn of my days, nor was it the early autumn. But all my life had been made up of earnest studious, thoughtful, quiet years, bestowed faithfully for the increase of mine own knowledge.. Was I not, thoughtful, quiet years, bestowed faithfully for the increase of mine own knowledge… Was I not, though you might deem me cold, nevertheless a man thoughtful for others, craving little for himself -kind, true, just, and of constant if nor warm affections?
Chillingworth reminds Hester how kind he used to be, before evil overtook him
Explain the following quote:
“What can a ruined soul, like mine, effect toward the redemption of other souls – or a polluted soul towards their purification can you imagine what it is like to look inward, and discern the black reality of what they idolize? I have laughed, in bitterness of agony of heart, at the contrast between when I seem and what I am! And Stan laughs at it”
Dimmesdale is tormented because he is sinful but his congregation thins he is pure
Explain the following quote:
“This unhappy person had effected such a transformation, by developing himself, for seven years, to the constant analysis of a heart full of torture, and deriving his enjoyment thence, and adding fuel to those fiery torture which analyzed and gloating over.”
Hawthorne symbolically writes of Chillingworth’s fiend-like behavior
Explain the following quote:
“Take heed how thou deniest to him—who, perchance, hath not the courage to grasp it for himself—the bitter, but wholesome cup that is now presented to thy lips”
In the first scaffold scene, Rev. Dimmesdale tells Hester from the balcony that the father lacks the courage to take the “cup” of Christian salvation that is offered to her lips because she had confessed and the father has not
Why does Hawthorne write that “the scarlet letter had not done its office”?
Hester is considering killing Pearl and committing suicide
She does not regret
She still loves Dimmesdale
With who has Chillingworth most recently been living before he appears in Boston?
A Native American
How does Hester support herself financially?
as a seamstress
What does the rosebush outside the prison symbolize?
The Romantic theme of Nature’s sympathy for mankind
Which of the following is a method Dimmesdale uses to punish himself for his sins?
Next to whom is Hester buried at the end of the novel?
What natural phenomenon comes to symbolize both Dimmesdale’s sin and Governor Winthrio’s virtue (moral goodness)
a meteor
How does Pearl acknowledge Dimmesdale as her father as his death?
by kissing him
What mark do most of the spectators claim to have seen on Dimmesdale’s chest at the novel’s end?
a scarlet letter “A”
The motto of the novel is?
“Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred!”

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