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In Chapter 24, how does Hawthorne feel about those who say that Dimmesdale never said...

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mpumpkin | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted December 13, 2012 at 8:59 PM via web

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In Chapter 24, how does Hawthorne feel about those who say that Dimmesdale never said he was Pearl's Father in The Scarlet Letter? 

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 14, 2012 at 12:08 AM (Answer #1)

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Hawthorne chooses a style in Chapter 24's description of the aftermath of the scaffold confession that includes using an enormous amount of text, and the use of quite a sarcastic and ironic undertone, to explain the mentality of those who still dared to deny the obvious fact that Dimmesdale confessed to being Pearl's father.

This is evidenced by the words that follow the very elaborate saintly and divine attributes that these people bestowed upon Dimmesdale for no other explainable reason aside from ridiculous fanaticism, and the need for a hero among them.

The narrator is slightly forgiving of the people in his voice, however, for he says

...we must be allowed to consider this version of Mr. Dimmesdale's story as only an instance of that stubborn fidelity with which a man's friends—and especially a clergyman's—will sometimes uphold his character;

However, Hawthorne is nowhere as forgiving of Arthur Dimmesdale, for he clearly declares him to be, rightfully, nothing but a saint of clay.

when proofs, clear as the mid-day sunshine on the scarlet letter, establish him a false and sin-stained creature of the dust.

Therefore, Hawthorne does feel sorry for the people who are moved by passion so blindly that they refuse to see what is clearly presented in front of their eyes. Yet, he expresses his sincere dislike for people like Dimmesdale, who have only contributed to feed the very blind flock that follows him with false pretenses and double standards of life.

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