What images from chapters 9-15 of The Scarlet Letter are more vivid than those in previous chapters? 

What images from chapters 9-15 of The Scarlet Letter are more vivid than those in previous chapters?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

From chapter 9, the image of Chillingworth's face getting darker and darker, becoming more "ugly and evil" the longer he lives with Dimmesdale, as though it were "getting sooty with the smoke" of hell is pretty vivid.  To imagine an older face becoming grizzled and darkening as though with hell's soot is quite a visual image indeed.

From chapter 10, the narrator presents the image of little Pearl collecting burrs and "arrang[ing] them along the lines of the scarlet letter that decorated the maternal bosom, to which the burrs, as their nature was, tenaciously adhered."  Such an image is both visual and tactile, as we can see the red A outlined in green, and imagine the prickliness of the burrs.

From chapter 12, the sight of Dimmesdale, Hester, and Pearl all together on the scaffold makes for a pretty memorable image.  The narrator says that "The three formed an electric chain."  It is easy to imagine the tension running through the characters in this moment.  Further, the "great red letter in the sky -- the letter A" that a meteor paints in the night sky is quite vivid as well.  The townsfolk interpret it to stand for "Angel" for John Winthrop, the first governor of the colony, but readers likely interpret it as a signal from God and/or nature that Dimmesdale's guilt is known.

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The Scarlet Letter

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