Did Hester ever love Chillingworth?
Hester and Chillingworth are both aware that Hester never loved him. When they meet again in New England, she says “thou knowest that I was frank with thee. I felt no love, nor feigned any.” Chillingworth believes that Hester could not love him because of his deformity (one shoulder is higher than the other). Nonetheless, he was initially content to marry her because he appreciated her youth and beauty.
What type of work does Chillingworth take on in New England?
Chillingworth works as physician once he settles in the New England community. Because “skilful men, of the medical and chirurgical profession, were of rare occurrence in the colony” he is gratefully welcomed; Chillingworth also possesses knowledge both from his time in Europe and from his time his time living with the Indians, which makes him seem highly skilled and knowledgeable. Chillingworth’s work as a physician allows him to get close to Dimmesdale, but it also creates an irony in that he is slowly tormenting and torturing Dimmesdale rather than healing him.
What does Dimmesdale believe he sees when the meteor lights up the night sky?
As Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold with Hester and Pearl, a meteor passes overhead, and Dimmesdale believes he sees it spell out the letter “A”: “the minister, looking upward to the zenith, beheld there the appearance of an immense letter.” At first it seems like Dimmesdale’s vision of the letter stems from his guilty obsession with his secret sin; however, the next morning it is confirmed that other people also saw the same shape in the sky. They, however, interpreted the letter differently; as the sexton explains, “we interpret [it] to stand for Angel. For, as our good Governor Winthrop, was made an angel this past night.” This difference in interpretation foreshadows how, at the end of the novel, there will be different accounts of what people saw when Dimmesdale bared his chest to the crowd.
How does Pearl react when she first sees her mother without the scarlet A?
When Hester and Dimmesdale meet in the forest, she impulsively takes off the letter and throws it away. When Pearl sees her mother without the letter, she reacts by screaming and crying until Hester puts the letter back on. As Hester explains, “Pearl misses something which she has always seen me wear.” Pearl’s reaction shows that Hester cannot simply escape from her past: her identity is entangled with being the woman who bears the scarlet letter, and it may not be possible for her to adopt a new identity.
What does Hester do after Dimmesdale’s death?
After Dimmesdale’s death, and the subsequent death of Roger Chillingworth, Pearl and Hester leave Boston and go abroad. After many years, Hester returns alone and lives quietly in the same cottage she had previously occupied. She still wears the scarlet letter, and becomes a kind of wise woman who other townspeople can come to for advice. The narrator explains Hester’s decision to return to New England by stating that “here had been her sin; here, her sorrow; and here was yet to be her penitence.” Although she might have wanted to start a new life, Hester is eventually drawn back to the place that holds memories of her past.
What is the purpose of “The Custom-House”?
The long introductory chapter titled “The Custom-House” explains why and how the novel was written by acknowledging that a real-life discovery was the seed of the tale. The narrator discovers a cloth embroidered with a scarlet “A” along with a manuscript written by an earlier employee of the Custom-House. The narrator also describes a lot about his place of work, his job, his society, and himself, all of which contrast with the story he writes after he loses his job. This introductory chapter establishes the narrator’s voice, style, and tone, and roots his “romance” in what appears to be autobiographical fact.
What is the first clue that Dimmesdale is Pearl’s father?
The first clue that Reverend Dimmesdale is Pearl’s father is revealed in Chapter III, The Recognition, when Hester is asked to name the father of her illegitimate child, Pearl. When Hester refuses to name the man, Reverend Dimmesdale clutches his chest and murmurs, “Wondrous strength and generosity of a woman’s heart! She will not speak!” His relief at her decision to remain silent suggests that he may be the beneficiary of Hester’s generosity.
What are Hester Prynne’s secrets?
Hester keeps secret the name of her illegitimate child’s father (Reverend Dimmesdale) and the true identity of Roger Chillingworth (her husband). She will not reveal Pearl’s father to protect Reverend Dimmesdale’s reputation, as he is the minister of the church. She does not reveal that Chillingworth is really her husband because she has promised him that she will not. However, she regrets this promise several times and eventually breaks it by revealing to Reverend Dimmesdale Chillingworth’s true identity.
What is Reverend Dimmesdale’s illness?
Reverend Dimmesdale’s illness is psychosomatic, caused by his own shame and self-loathing and by keeping his actions a secret from his community. Over the course of his illness, Reverend Dimmesdale grows emaciated, his voice sounds melancholy, and he often places his hand over his heart. While ill, he seems haunted, depressed, and sullen. As Roger Chillingworth explains, “A bodily disease, which we look upon as whole and entire within itself, may, after all, be but a symptom of some ailment in the spiritual part.”
Why is Roger Chillingworth called “the leech”?
Roger Chillingworth is called “the leech” because he sucks the spirit and strength from Reverend Dimmesdale the way the aquatic leech exploits and often kills its host. He pretends to be a caring physician, but he extorts favors from the clergyman to serve his own selfish need to be near Hester, his legal wife.
How does Hester Prynne’s reputation change in the course of the novel?
In the course of the novel, Hester Prynne changes from a vilified sinner to a valued servant of her community. Although she is still ostracized by her fundamentalist and repressive community, she plays the role of loving and compassionate nurse and comforter when anyone needs support. As a result of her giving and nurturing behavior, Hester becomes welcome in people’s homes when they are suffering. She also becomes a successful seamstress whose intricate needlework is in high demand.
What makes Hester and Reverend Dimmesdale finally feel hope about their future?
Hester and Reverend Dimmesdale finally experience joy and hope in the prospect of returning to Europe together with their daughter, Pearl. They meet in the forest and talk openly about their past love and the possibility of a new start in a different place. Hester even removes her scarlet “A” and lets down her long hair from under her cap in an act of momentary freedom and safety. The height of this happiness is expressed when Hester says, “Thou shalt not go alone!”
Why does Hester choose the forest to meet Dimmesdale and Chillingworth?
Hester meets Chillingworth and Dimmesdale on separate occasions in the forest because that is the place where she can speak honestly, openly, and privately, removed from the public scrutiny of the town. The forest represents a wilder, more honest setting, where emotions can be freely expressed without judgment and repression. The forest is also the place where the “Black Man” lives and witches hold meetings, a place inhabited by the unknown and where the stuff of a person’s dreams might be found.
What events mark the novel’s climax?
The novel’s climax takes place in Chapter XXIII when Reverend Dimmesdale dies after publicly confessing to being Pearl’s father. This event marks the point of highest tension where the spell of secrecy is finally broken and the truth is revealed. Everything in the plot builds to this point, and after this moment, readers only learn of what becomes of the other main characters.
What does the last sentence of the novel mean?
The novel ends with a symbolic epitaph from Hester’s grave, in the future. The last sentence reveals the words carved into her tombstone: “On a Field, Sable, the Letter A, Gules.” These words evoke a visual symbol of the rich brown, or sable, earth upon which a red, or gules, letter “A” sits. The narrator also provides a conflicting image to the scene: The somber setting is relieved by “one ever glowing point of light” even though this light is “gloomier than the shadow.” These images reflect and represent Hester’s persecution, struggles, and resilient heart.