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The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne
Summary Key Questions and Answers
Summary Key Questions and Answers

5) 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.