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Who is the man Hester is thinking about in the narrative in Chapter II?    The...

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bryan2143 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 1, 2010 at 1:18 AM via web

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Who is the man Hester is thinking about in the narrative in Chapter II?

 

 

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 12, 2010 at 7:11 PM (Answer #1)

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In Chapter III as Hester stands ignominously upon the scaffold, her sight is fixed upon a man who stands beside and Indian, who is evidently his companion:

By the Indians's side...stood a white man, clad in a strange disarray of civilised and savage costume.

He was small in stature, witha furrowed visage, which, as yet, could hardly be termed aged.  There was a remarkable intelligence in his features, as of a person who had so cultivated his mental part that it could not fail to mould the physical to itself and become manifest by unmistakable tokens.

When he who has been looking at her turns his view keenly upon her, a "writhing horror twisted itself across his features" and his face darkens.  Finally, the "convulsion" of his features abates, and he notices Hester's gaze as apparently one of recognition, his calmly and slowly puts his finger to his mouth, signalling her to remain silent.  Ironically, another man speaks to him, relating that the husband of the sinner, Hester Prynne, has disappeared; he says it would behoove this man to return, but because he has not, the magistrates have not given Hester the requisite death penalty for her adultery.  Instead, they have sentenced her to stand on the scaffold and to wear the scarlet letter until it sits upon her tombstone.

The passages from Chapter III certainly foreshadow the foreboding presence that Roger Chillingworth--his alias--will have upon Hester and her lover.

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evelynguy3 | Middle School Teacher | eNoter

Posted July 1, 2010 at 3:34 AM (Answer #2)

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Hester is thinking about the Reverend Dimmesdale as she waits for him.  At the same time, she is thinking about Chillingsworth and how she should tell the Reverend Dimmesdale about the fact he is her husband. 

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