The Scarlet Letter Chapter 7 Summary and Analysis
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Chapter 7 Summary and Analysis

Hester visits the mansion of Governor Bellingham. She brings him a pair of gloves he ordered. She takes this opportunity to speak to him about Pearl. There are rumors that some people in town have conspired to take Pearl away from her, and Hester wants to make sure this won't happen. She finds it strange that Governor Bellingham would involve himself in this matter, or that anyone would try to undermine her rights as a mother.

When Hester and Pearl arrive, a group of Puritan children laugh and throw mud at them. Enraged, Pearl charges at them, scattering the group. She and her mother are then free to enter the mansion, which is a testament to the Governor's great wealth. Inside, Hester speaks to one of the Governor's indentured servants, who tells her the Governor is too busy to see her. Nevertheless, Hester enters, intent on speaking with the Governor.

Hester and Pearl wait in a large room lined with many portraits. There's also a giant suit of armor, which is shiny enough to reflect and distort like a funhouse mirror. Hester's scarlet letter is blown up to exaggerated proportions in this reflection. After a while, Pearl and Hester see the Governor and several ministers walking through the garden to house.

Hawthorne continues to make heavy use of alliteration. One good example of this is the "fantasies and flourishes of gold thread" with which Hester embroiders Pearl's clothes.
Aladdin. A character from a popular Middle Eastern folk tale. Hawthorne compares the Governor's mansion to Aladdin's palace, further emphasizing the Governor's wealth.
Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626). Bacon was a prominent scientist, philosopher, barrister, and Renaissance man with many talents. In the late 16th and early 17th Centuries, he was heavily involved in the founding of the colonies. His career as a public servant ended when he was charged with twenty-three counts of corruption. He's alluded to in this chapter to indicate that the Governor was himself a prominent lawyer.
Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1577) by Raphael Holinshed (1529 - 1580). While waiting for the Governor, Hester comes across a heavy tome, which might be an old copy of Holinshed's Chronicles. Holinshed's book provides a comprehensive history of England, Scotland, and Ireland. It's referred to as "substantial literature" by Hawthorne.
Edward Coke (1552 - 1634). An English barrister and one of Francis Bacon's rivals. He successfully prosecuted the perpetrators of the Gunpowder Plot (an assassination attempt on the life of King James I of England). As Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, he introduced reforms that frustrated and undermined the monarchy. Like Bacon, he's alluded to simply to emphasize the Governor's training as a lawyer.
John Finch (1584 - 1660).  An English barrister active in the judgment of William Prynne, an English lawyer and writer whose writings led to his imprisonment in the Tower of London. His trials...

(The entire section is 722 words.)