What elements of mystery or supernatural events occur in Chapter 12 of "The Scarlet Letter"?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 12, the second scaffold scene occurs. Dimmesdale, drawn by guilt, goes to the scaffold where Hester stood at the beginning of the novel; however, he goes in the middle of the night. Dimmesdale cries out, but according to Hawthorne, only Mistress Hibbins, the witch, hears him. Then he sees Hester and Pearl, returning from the deathbed of Gov. Winthrop, and invites both of them on to the scaffold. Mysteriously, Pearl asks if Dimmesdale will join her and her mother on the scaffold at noon the next day. She seems to have some kind of knowledge that Dimmesdale is her father. Next, a meteor appears in the sky and makes the shape of the letter "A". The townspeople see it and assume the meaning of the "A" is "angel" in honor of Gov. Wintrop, who has just died. Of course, Dimmesdale and Hester associate the "A" with adultery. The next day, the sexton finds one of Dimmesdale's gloves on of scaffold and assumes the devil stole it.

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The Scarlet Letter

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