Questions and Answers for The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter

What does the rose bush near the prison door symbolize in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne?

The first two things any community makes, according to the narrator of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, are a cemetery and a prison. This is an indication, of course, of two things that...

Latest answer posted November 6, 2013 12:04 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

How does Dimmesdale punish himself in chapter 11 of 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

What does Chillingworth discover when Reverend Dimmesdale is sleeping in Chapter 10 of The Scarlet Letter and how...

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

3 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

What did Chillingworth do to Dimmesdale?

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

Quote at least one line that directly associates Chillingworth with the devil. Cite the page number. This is in...

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

In Chapter 4, what does Chillingworth ask Hester to promise? Why does she agree?  

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

What does this quote from The Scarlet Letter mean? "No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself...

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

5 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

What are some direct quotes, about Roger Chillingworth, in The Scarlet Letter, that show Roger changing physically,...

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

On A Field Sable The Letter A Gules

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

How is the attitude of the townspeople toward Hester changed during the seven years since her "crime" was...

Hester has become a real boon to her community: when someone is sick, Hester is there to help; when someone is in need, Hester provides. "None so ready as she to give of her little substance to...

Latest answer posted October 17, 2016 1:02 am UTC

4 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

In The Scarlet Letter, what is the significance of Pearl's name?

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

In Chapters 4-8 of "The Scarlet Letter," what does Hester do with her spare money?

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

What is the role and significance of Mistress Hibbins in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter?

Toward the end of the novel, after Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale have determined to run away together, Hester sees Mistress Hibbins in town. Mistress Hibbins says a number of things that...

Latest answer posted December 5, 2017 12:19 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

In The Scarlet Letter, what does Dimmesdale have upon his chest in chapter 12?

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

How Does Dimmesdale Die

You'll remember that in The Scarlet Letter, when Hester commits adultery, she refuses to name the father of her unborn child. It is Dimmesdale that argues, after Pearl's (the baby's) birth, that...

Latest answer posted September 23, 2010 11:21 am UTC

3 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

Figurative Language In The Scarlet Letter

Here are some more examples of figurative language: The Scarlet Letter Metaphor - Often Hawthorne compares happenings and objects to abstract qualities. In Chapter 1, the symbolic rosebush at the...

Latest answer posted February 21, 2014 9:53 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

Give at least 2 reasons why Hester does not leave the colony in 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

5 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

How does Pearl's relationship to Dimmesdale change throughout the novel? The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The incarnation of Hester Prynne's and Arthur Dimmesdale's sins of passion, Pearl stands more as a symbol than a character. She is a mixture of emotions, laughing at one moment, sullen at another....

Latest answer posted March 9, 2012 7:28 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

How did Pearl answer the question about who had made her in The Scarlet Letter?

When the minister asks Pearl who made her, Pearl doesn't want to tell him at first. She knows what her mother has told her -- that she was a child of God and that God had made her. But for...

Latest answer posted January 12, 2010 5:45 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

In chapters 9-15 how does Roger Chillingworth's appearance change?

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, what are some clues that illustrate Dimmesdale is Pearl's father?

In The Scarlet Letter, one clue that may indicate that Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale is the father of Pearl is illustrated when Hester Prynne appears on the scaffold for the first time. She appears with...

Latest answer posted November 28, 2009 2:19 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

Describe the mood of chapter one in The Scarlet Letter.  What words or phrases help to establish that mood?

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

What is the final fate of Hester and Pearl in The Scarlet Letter? The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

In a rather ironic ending, Pearl, the "elf-child" becomes the most human in the final scaffold scene. Having inherited property from Chillingworth, she has become the "richest heiress of her day,...

Latest answer posted August 9, 2010 12:34 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

In "The Scarlet Letter" how does Chillingworth know that Dimmsdale is keeping a secret?

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

In chapter 10 of The Scarlet Letter, what does Pearl see in Chillingworth?

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

In The Scarlet Letter, what is the 'black flower'?

There are two striking instances of the use of the phrase, 'black flower' in this novel. The first is in chapter 1, when the narrator refers to the prison where Hester has been incarcerated, as...

Latest answer posted November 4, 2013 10:13 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

In Chapter 12 of The Scarlett Letter, how do the other townspeople who see the red letter "A" from the meteor in the...

In Chapter 12 of The Scarlet Letter, while Dimmesdale, Hester and Pearl are standing at night on the scaffold, Dimmesdale having asked the other two to join him there after the pain he bears made...

Latest answer posted July 21, 2010 5:09 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

What do the black weeds growing on the grave symbolize in The Scarlet Letter?  

This quotation from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter occurs in chapter ten, when Hawthorne begins to give the reader a more in-depth look at the relationship between Roger Chillingworth and...

Latest answer posted April 17, 2013 7:22 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

What is the significance of the forest in "The Scarlet Letter" and how is the forest related to the black man and to...

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter, the forest surrounding the Puritan settlement represents two opposing forces: evil that seeks to steal the soul and freedom that liberates the...

Latest answer posted December 13, 2019 4:08 am UTC

4 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

In Chapter 13 of The Scarlet Letter, why does Hester decide to reveal the secret of Roger Chillingworth's identity to...

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

What does the flashback reveal about Hester's past? One way Hester endures her punishment is by dreaming of her past.

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

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

In chapter 23 of The Scarlet Letter Dimmesdale's death is described with a paradox, a seeming contradiction that...

The great paradox of Dimmesdale's death is found in the way in which he interprets what his life has been, and what his death will be now that it is so near. Dimmesdale thinks that God has shown...

Latest answer posted May 19, 2013 10:49 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

In The Scarlet Letter, why does Hawthorne say "the scarlet letter had not done its office", in chapter 13?

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

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

In The Scarlet Letter, why does Chillingworth ask Hester to keep his identity a secret?

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

In "The Scarlet Letter," what happens to Chillingworth after Dimmesdale dies and why?

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

Name three things the letter "A" stands for in 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

In The Scarlet Letter, what is the significance of the passage that begins with, "Pearl kissed his lips. A spell was...

When the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale steps onto the scaffold in Chapter XXIII of The Scarlet Letter, he invites Hester and Pearl finally to join him, and Pearl cannot accuse him this time of being...

Latest answer posted October 31, 2012 6:47 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

How does Dimmesdale torture himself in 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

In The Scarlet Letter, why is Pearl often compared to an elf? 

A preternatural creature that is given to mischievous, capricious acts, an elf is a fitting description for Pearl, "the scarlet letter endowed with life." For, as the incarnation of Hester's sin,...

Latest answer posted November 24, 2012 9:34 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

Is it necessary to read "The Custom House" introduction toThe Scarlet Letter? If so, what is it about? I'm trying to...

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

What is Hawthorne's ultimate message about humans and/or society in The Scarlet Letter? Is Hawthorne more optimistic...

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

What was Hester's punishment?  

Hester's punishment was to spend a little time in jail; she is released three months after the birth of her child, the child her Puritan community believes was conceived in sin since Hester's...

Latest answer posted February 10, 2016 2:54 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

What are quotes that represent the characters of Roger Chillingworth, Hester Prynne, and Arthur Dimmesdale in The...

When Chilingworth first arrives in Boston, people are thrilled to have a physician available, and they are even happier when he and the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale move in together because they...

Latest answer posted January 13, 2020 12:22 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

In the Scarlet Letter, Chapter 11, why doesn’t Dimmesdale confess his sin to his congregation?

According to chapter 11, "The Interior of a Heart," Dimmesdale was more than once in want of telling the congregation that he was, indeed, a hypocrite. In a lighter view of Dimmesdale, he is...

Latest answer posted October 29, 2015 8:38 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

In The Scarlet Letter, what two possible meanings does the rose have for the reader?  

The Rosebush is definitely worth a closer look. Note also where it grows: next to the prison. It symbolizes nature's endurance and impartiality in contrast to human affairs. In a narrative that has...

Latest answer posted February 24, 2009 8:10 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

What is the significance of this quote in Chapter 14 of The Scarlet Letter? “Ye that have wronged me are not sinful,...

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

Irony In 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 The Scarlet Letter, what is Chillingworth's most serious sin?

Roger Chillingworth's most horrible sin is this: In seeking revenge, he sets out to deliberately and methodically destroy another human being, Arthur Dimmesdale. When Chillingworth comes into the...

Latest answer posted March 10, 2009 7:39 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Scarlet Letter

How does Dimmesdale react the the truth that Chillingworth is Hester's husband and what does that say about...

When Hester finally reveals to Dimmesdale who Chillingsworth is, he finds himself experiencing a number of intense emotions. First he is furious that Hester has waited so long to tell him, wearing...

Latest answer posted January 31, 2014 8:07 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Scarlet Letter

In "The Scarlet Letter," chapters 11 and 12, what does Pearl ask Reverend Dimmesdale?

In chapter 12, Dimmesdale goes to the scaffold because his guilt has begun to overwhelm him and he hopes that there might be "a moment's peace" to be found there, in his proper place: the place of...

Latest answer posted October 26, 2018 2:32 pm UTC

2 educator answers

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