The Scarlet Letter Chapters 5-8 Questions and Answers
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Chapters 5-8 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. After her ordeal, where did Hester choose to live? Why?

2. What occupation did Hester take up?

3. Describe Hester’s appearance and mental state during this time period.

4. Give at least three examples of Hester’s treatment by the community.

5. Describe Pearl’s personality and appearance.

6. What is Pearl’s reaction to the scarlet letter?

7. Why does Hester go the Governor’s house?

8. Describe the luxury of the Governor’s home, especially in contrast to an ordinary Puritan’s lifestyle.

9. How does Pearl behave when questioned by the men?

10. How does Hester succeed in her mission, and how does this relate to her conversation with Mistress Hibbins?

1. Free to go anywhere, Hester remains in Salem, taking up residence in an abandoned cottage on the outskirts of the community. She does so because she feels connected to Salem by her sin and because she feels linked to the man who was her lover.

2. Hester’s ability to sew, shown by her embroidering of the scarlet letter itself, allows her to support herself. She sews everything from funeral shrouds to fancy apparel for the upper class.

3. On the outside Hester exhibits the somber manner the Puritans demand of her. She wears drab and coarse clothing and interacts with the community only in her work and in her charitable acts. Her passionate nature is hidden and redirected into her embroidery. Inwardly, she feels isolated and lonely but accepts this as her lot.

4. Everyone, rich and poor, makes comments to Hester about her sin. Clergymen preach sermons about her behavior. Children, imitating their parents’ behavior, taunt her in the streets. Strangers, unaware of her situation, stare in puzzlement at her.

5. Pearl is described as wild, defiant, moody, exuberant, undisciplined, perceptive, and perverse. Hester dresses her in colorful outfits, beautifully embroidered, but is unable to control the actions of her young daughter who remains isolated from other children.

6. Even in her crib Pearl seemed fascinated with the scarlet letter. She grabbed on to it once and smiled, causing her mother considerable anguish. Pearl constantly smiles knowingly at the letter, renewing Hester’s anguish each time she observes her child’s sly smile. Once Pearl smilingly...

(The entire section is 562 words.)