This chapter begins on the same optimistic note that ends the previous chapter. On what kind of note does the chapter end?Chapter 19 , The Scarlet Letter

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Near the end of Chapter XIX of The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne writes,

So it ever is, whether thus typified or no, that an evil deed invests itself with the character of doom.  Hester next gathered up the heavy tresses of her hair, and confined them beneath her cap.  As if there were a withering spell in the sad letter, her beuty, the warmth and richness of her womanhood, departed, like fading sunshine; and a grey shadow seemed to fall across her.

Hester and the Reverend Dimmesdale have stood admiring the beauty of their daughter, who, in harmony with nature, seems even more splendid; now, Pearl, the reminder of her sin of passion, demands that her mother take up the scarlet A that floats in the brook and replace it upon her bosom.  With the replacement of the reminder of her sin, Hester loses again her beauty. And, "the blush yielded to a deadly pallor" on the minister, as well.  Pearl impetuously kisses the replaced letter on her mother, but runs to the brook and washes off the kiss that the minister has placed upon her forehead.  Then, Pearl stands apart from them.  The forest holds the secret of all that has happened, and the

melancholy brook would add this other tale to the mystery with which its little heart was already overburdened...

''and will not murmur with any cheerfulness for ages heretofore."  A sense of gloom hangs over Chapter XIX as the Reverend Dimmesdale retains his secret sin.  Signifying this, he holds his hand over his heart.


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The Scarlet Letter

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