In The Scarlet Letter, why does Hester go to the governor's house?
1 Answer | Add Yours
In Chapter VIII, Hester Prynne has been summoned to the Governor's Hall in order to confer with the state and church leaders who feel that Pearl should be taken from her mother in order to be properly raised. Upon arriving at the governor's mansion, Hester comes before the magistrate who is dressed in the elaborate ruff characteristic of King James's reign, a costume incongruous to the evidence that he lives in comfort and luxury. Likewise, the "old clergyman," the Reverend Mr. Wilson,
nurtured at the rich bosom fo the English Church, had a long established and legitimate taste for all good and comfortable things,
despite his public "reproof of such transgressions as that of Hester Prynne."
In her defiance of the condemnation befallen her, Hester dresses Pearl in a crimson dress that reminds the "good old Mr. Wilson" of the stained glass windows in the English churches of the "Papistry." Then, altering his demeanor to one of sternness, the Reverend Wilson informs Hester that they wish to remove the child to "other hands." This statement elicits a passionate response from Hester,
"God gave me the child....He gave her in requital of all things else which ye had taken from me. She is my happiness! she is my torture, ...Pearl keeps me her in life! Pearl punishes me, too! Ye shall not take her! I will die first!"
Further, Hester appeals to the Reverend Dimmesdale to speak on her behalf, and he does so, contending that Pearl, the innocent child, keeps Hester from Satan since without her child, she may despair and fall prey to evil. Thus convinced by the young minister's plea, Mr. Wilson and the magistrate agreed to allow Hester to keep the incarnation of her sin.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes