The Scarlet Letter Questions and Answers

The Scarlet Letter

In Chapter 11, "The Minister's Vigil," Dimmesdale does practice self-flagellation in which he essentially whips himself with a scourge: usually a handle to which is attached many small, leather...

Latest answer posted September 21, 2016, 11:19 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

The significance of the title of The Scarlet Letter is that it is the symbol that Hester Prynne is ordered to wear on her chest prominently to show the world that she is a sinner. The letter itself...

Latest answer posted May 9, 2020, 3:43 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

This quote reflects the heart of Arthur Dimmesdale, and it's important to back up a bit to see what else is going on in this section: On the third day from the present, he was to preach the...

Latest answer posted December 23, 2019, 1:50 pm (UTC)

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The Scarlet Letter

Though modern-day America has evolved from the Puritanistic New England colonies of our forefathers, many themes that are present in The Scarlet Letter are still relevant to today's society:...

Latest answer posted September 10, 2019, 7:12 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

At the end of the first chapter, the narrator describes the prison from which Hester enters and then, later, into which she recedes, as the “black flower of civilized society.” Earlier, he noted...

Latest answer posted September 22, 2020, 11:48 am (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

Laws of nature are more philosophical statements about regular happenings in the human world than actual laws. In the human world, for example, people fall in love and have relationships regularly,...

Latest answer posted August 13, 2018, 9:43 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

Hawthorne says, “The scarlet letter had not done it office,” meaning that it had not done its job in at least two ways. On the part of the community, quite the contrary happened, Hester Prynne had...

Latest answer posted September 13, 2015, 4:28 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

Initially, the people of Boston—especially the women—judge Hester very harshly. One woman suggests that the magistrates who decided on Hester's punishment were too lenient and that "'they should...

Latest answer posted August 16, 2018, 8:53 pm (UTC)

6 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

As a final note marking Hester's grave, this line does indeed reveal the contrasts in the text and summarize the entire novel. In order to understand how, it is important to understand the meaning...

Latest answer posted April 27, 2013, 12:56 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

It is true that "The Custom House" is an autobiographical short story in itself, where Hawthorne looks back in time and narrates some of his memories. However, this introduction adds substance to...

Latest answer posted December 17, 2012, 6:38 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

There are several conflicts in the novel. The main one being man vs. society. Hester violated the rules of her society and is severely punished for her actions daily. She must bear the burden upon...

Latest answer posted August 31, 2012, 6:09 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

As Dimmesdale and Chillingworth are talking at a window of the home they share, Pearl sees the two men and says to her mother, Hester, Come away, mother! Come away, or yonder old Black Man will...

Latest answer posted October 18, 2018, 7:08 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

Most of the women in the town are extremely rueful, angry, and judgmental towards Hester Prynn due to her crime of adultery. Most of them are staunch puritanical woman who have no shortage of...

Latest answer posted September 9, 2019, 10:28 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

Hawthorne's ultimate message is that we are all sinners. Moreover, in the chapter entitled, "Conclusion," the narrator says, Among many morals which press upon us from the poor minister's...

Latest answer posted December 17, 2017, 9:25 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

He doesn't know for sure, at first. But as he spends more and more time with Dimmesdale, he notices symptoms that lead him to conclude that Dimmesdale is tortured with something. He is sickly; he...

Latest answer posted November 11, 2009, 4:23 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

Chillingworth, or Roger Prynne, enacts psychological warfare on Arthur Dimmesdale because he feels that Dimmesdale has cuckolded him. Chillingworth is jealous of the love that Hester has for...

Latest answer posted August 20, 2018, 3:55 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

In chapter 12 there is only one mention of Arthur Dimmesdale's chest, and it is after the meteor is witnessed by the villagers, when he stood at the scaffold with Pearl and Hester in what is...

Latest answer posted October 29, 2015, 9:03 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

Hester has convinced herself that she should remain in New England, despite all the bad things that have happened to her. After enduring the public shame and humiliation of being exposed as an...

Latest answer posted November 17, 2020, 10:59 am (UTC)

6 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

Chillingworth asks Hester to promise that she will never betray his identity to anyone. In the interest of fairness, since she has chosen to keep the name of her lover secret, Hester must likewise...

Latest answer posted September 21, 2016, 4:17 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

When Hawthorne wrote this novel in 1850, he set it around the middle of the seventeenth century; in that very literal sense, then, it fulfills the historical part of "historical romance." The...

Latest answer posted March 27, 2018, 9:06 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

Hester's flashback from atop the scaffold is credited to her superior memory, which was, as the narrator says, "preternaturally active." She remembers all kinds of scenes from her childhood: being...

Latest answer posted November 14, 2017, 11:42 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

In chapter 11, we find some very specific descriptions of Dimmsdale's physical decline in the words: While thus suffering under bodily disease, and gnawed and tourtured by some black trouble of...

Latest answer posted October 5, 2010, 9:38 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

In chapter 10 of The Scarlet Letter, "The Leech and his Patient", Chillingworth tries everything he can to extract from Reverend Dimmesdale the truth about the ailment that has been consuming him...

Latest answer posted November 23, 2015, 12:45 am (UTC)

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The Scarlet Letter

Physically- In chapter 14, titled "Hester and the Physician" we find Hester and Chillingworth finally getting together up close and almost personal. It is here, when Hester has the best...

Latest answer posted November 19, 2015, 1:05 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Pearl is the daughter of Hester Prynne and a product of Hester's adulterous relationship with a minister, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Hester Prynne...

Latest answer posted December 17, 2015, 9:52 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

The many examples of irony in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne include that Hester is spurned by the local townspeople and made to wear the scarlet letter as a mark of her shame, yet she...

Latest answer posted December 21, 2019, 12:10 pm (UTC)

5 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

In Chapter Five, "Hester at Her Needle," the narrator tells us that, "Except for that small expenditure in the decoration of her infant, Hester bestowed all her superfluous means in charity, on...

Latest answer posted October 19, 2016, 11:41 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

The opening scene—even the opening paragraph of the story—helps to establish the mood and make clear Hawthorne's feelings regarding the Puritans and their brand of "justice." The narrator says, A...

Latest answer posted September 3, 2019, 11:34 am (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

Dimmesdale dies on the scaffold shortly after he and Hester make plans to run away together and escape Boston and the judgment of their society. He calls Hester and Pearl up on to the scaffold with...

Latest answer posted September 21, 2020, 4:49 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

It is ironic that some "leading inhabitants" of the town have been discussing removing Pearl from her mother's care. Some argue that Pearl is of "demon origin" and so they feel that separating her...

Latest answer posted December 7, 2018, 2:06 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

Roger Chillingworth is a definitive villain in The Scarlett Letter, and his name is meant to reflect his evil character. As a husband, he pays no attention to his wife Hester, instead choosing to...

Latest answer posted October 1, 2018, 5:02 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

There is another instrument of torture that should be mentioned as well: Dimmesdale's "bloody scourge." There is quite a large section of the text that deals with Dimmesdale's scourge. Let's...

Latest answer posted November 3, 2011, 2:31 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

Hester Prynne, heroine and protagonist of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, lives alone with her infant daughter, Pearl, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. She manages to make a living to...

Latest answer posted October 10, 2018, 4:49 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

Roger Chillingworth is indeed a false name, firstly because Hester Prynne's last name is Prynne and not Chillingworth. Even as a disgraced adulteress, Hester would retain her husband's last name....

Latest answer posted October 26, 2018, 3:39 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

Chillingworth dies shortly after Dimmesdale passes away. Though one might assume Chillingworth would be happy that the man who helped cuckold him is dead, this is not the case. Chillingworth wanted...

Latest answer posted October 9, 2018, 3:53 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

In Chapter XIV, a chapter in which Chillingworth and his wife, Hester Prynne, discuss the Reverend Dimmesdale, Hester's punishment, and Chillingworth's machinations, the narrator says, "In a word,...

Latest answer posted October 17, 2017, 7:55 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

The narrator of the book tells us in chapter 9, entitled "The Leech," about the dramatic change which Chillingworth has undergone since his arrival in Boston. At first, his expression had been...

Latest answer posted January 11, 2019, 12:25 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

For the purposes of introducing the novel, "The Custom-House" offers a conceit for telling the story of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale's doomed romance. The narrator finds the embroidered...

Latest answer posted May 9, 2020, 3:11 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

When the cold, sinister, and aptly named Chillingworth, Hester's husband, arrives and finds her in disgrace as an adulteress, he says: Thou and thine, Hester Prynne, belong to me. My home is where...

Latest answer posted September 16, 2019, 12:33 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

By Chapter 13, Roger Chillingworth's companionship of Mr. Dimmesdale has begun to take a serious toll on Dimmesdale. When Hester speaks with Dimmesdale, she is shocked by his weakness, and she...

Latest answer posted December 31, 2016, 3:09 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

The letter "A" in The Scarlet Letter is a symbol that is often debated in the literary world. Most readers feel that the "A" stands for adultery, and that was Hawthorne's intention when we wrote...

Latest answer posted October 9, 2015, 1:24 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

On this chapter, Hester and the Physician, Hester was out in the seaside when she finally meets Chillingworth, and dares to confront him about his treatment of Dimmesdale. She requested him that,...

Latest answer posted November 13, 2010, 5:36 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

In chapter 23, which is the end of the story of Dimmesdale and Hester, Arthur Dimmesdale already knows that his end is coming. He finally goes to the scaffold and he, in a sort of delirium, begins...

Latest answer posted July 15, 2015, 2:03 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

The opening paragraph of the chapter provides a great place to begin to analyze mood: A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments, and gray, steeple-crowned hats [...] was assembled in front...

Latest answer posted September 22, 2016, 12:08 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter is a strongly allegorical work. Hawthorne uses the setting, the "Custom House" introduction, and the red A of the title as allegorical representations of larger, more complex...

Latest answer posted October 16, 2017, 7:05 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

By the end of chapter 9, the narrator tells us that that people in Boston had begun to notice that Roger Chillingworth's face had changed dramatically since he came to town, but most especially...

Latest answer posted June 21, 2018, 4:03 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

In The Scarlet Letter, author Nathaniel Hawthorne shows elements of hypocrisy in the Puritan society within the small New England town where Hester Prynne lived. This Puritan society viewed Hester...

Latest answer posted December 7, 2019, 1:23 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

In chapter 7 of The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the breastplate to create imagery and symbolism that represents the idea that Hester Prynne and her illegitimate daughter Pearl are...

Latest answer posted July 11, 2013, 6:31 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

Hawthorne criticizes the hypocritical and harsh nature of Puritan society. Hester is ostracized for her adultery, forced to wear a literal badge of shame and raise her child alone. Meanwhile, the...

Latest answer posted December 1, 2018, 4:16 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

At the beginning of Chapter VI, which introduces her and bears her name, Pearl is described as “a lovely and immortal flower” sprung from a guilty passion. She makes a practice of gathering flowers...

Latest answer posted November 28, 2019, 3:25 am (UTC)

4 educator answers

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