So what does the meteorite scene really mean anyway? Hester and Arthur meet in secret, but little Pearl induces them to all stand on the scaffold together as if to accept the social consequences of their affair. Hester and Arthur want to keep their relationship "in the dark," so to speak, but the meteorite "brings it to light." Rather crudely, the meteorite leaves an "A" in the night sky, as if to remind the two that their affair cannot remain a secret for too long.
At least that's the way it reads to me. What do other people think?
2 Answers | Add Yours
I think that is a reasonable explanation of events. At the same time, the meteorite is also a sign from God. It is something that cannot be controlled by anyone. It reminds people that in the scheme of things, they are small and insignificant.
Yes, I think that Arthur interprets the meteorite as a sign from God. I think he's wandering around the scaffold at night, feeling guilty and wondering what to do about it. The "A" that he perceives in the sky seems to be God reminding him (or so he thinks) that he is a sinner in absolute moral terms, even though society continues to think well of him.
I sometimes think of Dimmesdale as a "dead-beat dad" of sorts. He's one of these guys--an all-too typical American type--who has a brilliant career and a spotless public image, but who behind the scenes has a totally dysfunctional family life, whether it's delinquent wayward kids, a sick wife he never visits in the hospital, or what have you.
That "A" in the night sky reminds him that he needs to do the right thing and re-join his family--no matter what the cost to his career or public image. At the very least, Pearl deserves to lead a normal life in normal society, not the bastard and "devil" child that the Puritans see her as. Only if Arthur and Hester come out about their affair is that possible.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes