The Scarlet Letter Chapters 9-12 Questions and Answers
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Chapters 9-12 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What are the townspeople’s reactions to Chillingworth’s lodging in the same house as Dimmesdale?

2. What changes have taken place in Chillingworth over the years?

3. What actions does Dimmesdale take to punish himself?

4. Why is Chillingworth called a “leech,” and why, at another point, does the narrator compare him to a miner?

5. What is the significance of Chillingworth’s examining Dimmesdale’s chest?

6. What is the reaction of Dimmesdale’s parishioners to his sermons?

7. For what reasons are the major characters at the scaffold during the night?

8. Why does Dimmesdale cry out while on the scaffold?

9. Where is each major character located when the meteor is seen?

10. What are the various interpretations the characters attribute to the shape of the meteor?

1. Many are happy that a doctor will be close at hand to tend to their beloved minister. It is seen as the answer to their prayers. Others begin to notice changes in Chillingworth’s appearance and personality, and rumors circulate that he might be in league with the devil. If there is any conflict between Chillingworth and Dimmesdale, they are sure the goodness in Dimmesdale will win out.

2. There was something ugly and evil in his face. It was widely held that he was the devil or the devil’s agent come to persecute Dimmesdale.

3. Over the years Dimmesdale has taken to whipping his shoulders with a scourge, fasting until weak with hunger, and staying awake in night-long vigils.

4. Doctors used leeches to draw out bad blood, and the ironic use here is appropriate. Chillingworth is also presented as someone who was entering into the interior of a heart and digging, like a miner, to take out something precious.

5. Dimmesdale often clutches his chest and to this point has not allowed Chillingworth, his doctor, to examine him. Since Chillingworth suspects the minister has committed the same sin as Hester, it follows that he might be pained symbolically and literally in the same spot as she.

6. Ironically, the...

(The entire section is 513 words.)