Chapter 19 Summary and Analysis
Hester tells Dimmesdale that he will learn to love Pearl as her father. He has been afraid of showing any affection or special consideration toward her, because of their situation, but he must admit she's a beautiful child. For the first time, he and Hester look upon her together as her parents. Hester calls Pearl over to speak to Dimmesdale, but Pearl hesitates. For seven years, Pearl has been her mother's only companion, and she's confused by the sudden presence of Dimmesdale in their lives. Instead of heeding her mother's call, she stands on the opposite side of the brook, staring at her parents. Seeing the scarlet letter in the grass, Pearl points at Hester's chest, furious. Pearl stamps her feet and throws a terrible tantrum until Hester finally picks up the scarlet letter and pins it to her clothes. "Now thou art my mother indeed!" Pearl cries, as if she didn't recognize her mother without the letter.
Finally, Pearl comes to her mother's side, kissing Hester, then kissing the scarlet letter. Dimmesdale likewise kisses Pearl on the forehead, but Pearl, jealous of his relationship with Hester and irritated by his refusal to stand with them in public that day, runs to the brook and washes off the kiss. This is the end of their "interview," which can be thought of as an audition where Dimmesdale and Pearl try out the roles of father and daughter.