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The most important images in these chapters appear to be the scarlet letter, the rose, the forest, and the scaffold. The rose, as it appears in Chapter 9, is still associated with freedom of thought as it was in Chapter 1. However, this time the association is more threatening for Hester. When asked where she came from, Pearl says her mother plucked her from the rose bush in front of the prison. The symbolism is lost on Governor Bellingham, who accuses Hester of not properly teaching her daughter. It is only Dimmesdale's interjections that save the day for Hester. In these chapters, the importance of the scaffold as a symbol of judgment is also reinforced. Dimmesdale is drawn to it at night and, in agony, confesses his sin to---no one. Hester appears with Pearl and together they witness a scarlet letter in the sky. The letter, as it has throughout the novel, appears to have two meanings. For Dimmesdale, it means adultery. For the townspeople, it means "angel" in reverence of Gov. Winthrop, who has just died. Ironically, the term angel will also be applied to Hester later in the novel. Finally, the image of the forest also seems to have two meanings. At first, it was the home of the "black man" of the forest, the devil, and therefore, was considered evil. However, when Hester and Dimmesdale meet there, the forest is also a place of freedom where Hester can remove the scarlet letter and they can plan an escape from Boston.
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