In Chapter 3 of The Scarlet Letter, what is Hawthorne foreshadowing with the prediction that the father's name will eventually be disclosed?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

“A wise sentence,” remarked the stranger, gravely bowing his head. “Thus she will be a living sermon against sin, until the ignominious letter be engraved upon her tombstone. It irks me, 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!—he will be known!”

Hawthorne foreshadows, by the above quote from Chapter 3 of The Scarlet Letter two things. The first is that Chillingworth, who as yet in Chapter 3 remains unnamed, will pursue an investigation of his own and his own sort to discover the identity of the father of Hester's baby, which is precisely what he unrelentingly does in later chapters of the story.

The second foreshadowed occurrence is that ultimately, all the readers' questions about who the father truly is will be answered, no matter how dismaying and shocking. This is in fact precisely what occurs as the novel progresses with the horrible confirmations of the truth as they come up later in the story.

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The Scarlet Letter

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