Chapter 17 scarlet letter analysis

At first, he cannot tell whether she is a human or a ghost. In fact, they are both ghosts of their former selves, and their chill hands and hesitant words reveal the strangeness of this meeting. Both Hester and Dimmesdale talk with each other about the past seven years, and Dimmesdale confesses his misery and unhappiness. He compares his silence with her public confession and realizes how his hidden guilt is tormenting him.

Chapter 17 scarlet letter analysis

Dimmesdale, at whatever risk of present pain or ulterior consequences, the true character of the man who had crept into his intimacy.

For several days, however, she vainly sought an opportunity of addressing him in some of the meditative walks which she knew him to be in the habit of taking along the shores of the Peninsula, or on the wooded hills of the neighbouring country. There would have been no scandal, indeed, nor peril to the holy whiteness of the clergyman's good fame, had she visited him in his own study, where many a penitent, ere now, had confessed sins of perhaps as deep a dye as the one betokened by the scarlet letter.

Chapter 17 scarlet letter analysis

But, partly that she dreaded the secret or undisguised interference of old Roger Chillingworth, and partly that her conscious heart imparted suspicion where none could have been felt, and partly that both the minister and she would need the whole wide world to breathe in, Chapter 17 scarlet letter analysis they talked together--for all these reasons Hester never thought of meeting him in any narrower privacy than beneath the open sky.

At last, while attending a sick chamber, whither the Rev. Dimmesdale had been summoned to make a prayer, she learnt that he had gone, the day before, to visit the Apostle Eliot, among his Indian converts. He would probably return by a certain hour in the afternoon of the morrow.

Betimes, therefore, the next day, Hester took little Pearl--who was necessarily the companion of all her mother's expeditions, however inconvenient her presence--and set forth.

The road, after the two wayfarers had crossed from the Peninsula to the mainland, was no other than a foot-path. It straggled onward into the mystery of the primeval forest. Chapter 17 scarlet letter analysis hemmed it in so narrowly, and stood so black and dense on either side, and disclosed such imperfect glimpses of the sky above, that, to Hester's mind, it imaged not amiss the moral wilderness in which she had so long been wandering.

The day was chill and sombre. Overhead was a gray expanse of cloud, slightly stirred, however, by a breeze; so that a gleam of flickering sunshine might now and then be seen at its solitary play along the path. This flitting cheerfulness was always at the further extremity of some long vista through the forest.

The sportive sunlight--feebly sportive, at best, in the predominant pensiveness of the day and scene--withdrew itself as they came nigh, and left the spots where it had danced the drearier, because they had hoped to find them bright.

It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom. There it is, playing a good way off. Stand you here, and let me run and catch it. I am but a child. It will not flee from me--for I wear nothing on my bosom yet! It will soon be gone " Pearl set forth at a great pace, and as Hester smiled to perceive, did actually catch the sunshine, and stood laughing in the midst of it, all brightened by its splendour, and scintillating with the vivacity excited by rapid motion.

The light lingered about the lonely child, as if glad of such a playmate, until her mother had drawn almost nigh enough to step into the magic circle too. There was no other attribute that so much impressed her with a sense of new and untransmitted vigour in Pearl's nature, as this never failing vivacity of spirits: Perhaps this, too, was a disease, and but the reflex of the wild energy with which Hester had fought against her sorrows before Pearl's birth.

It was certainly a doubtful charm, imparting a hard, metallic lustre to the child's character. She wanted--what some people want throughout life--a grief that should deeply touch her, and thus humanise and make her capable of sympathy.

But there was time enough yet for little Pearl.

Chapter 17 scarlet letter analysis

Didst thou ever meet the Black Man, mother? She said that a thousand and a thousand people had met him here, and had written in his book, and have his mark on them.

And that ugly tempered lady, old Mistress Hibbins, was one. And, mother, the old dame said that this scarlet letter was the Black Man's mark on thee, and that it glows like a red flame when thou meetest him at midnight, here in the dark wood.

Is it true, mother? And dost thou go to meet him in the nighttime?

Chapter 17 Summary and Analysis

I would very gladly go! But, mother, tell me now! Is there such a Black Man? And didst thou ever meet him? And is this his mark? This scarlet letter is his mark! Here they sat down on a luxuriant heap of moss; which at some epoch of the preceding century, had been a gigantic pine, with its roots and trunk in the darksome shade, and its head aloft in the upper atmosphere It was a little dell where they had seated themselves, with a leaf-strewn bank rising gently on either side, and a brook flowing through the midst, over a bed of fallen and drowned leaves.

The trees impending over it had flung down great branches from time to time, which choked up the current, and compelled it to form eddies and black depths at some points; while, in its swifter and livelier passages there appeared a channel-way of pebbles, and brown, sparkling sand.

Letting the eyes follow along the course of the stream, they could catch the reflected light from its water, at some short distance within the forest, but soon lost all traces of it amid the bewilderment of tree-trunks and underbush, and here and there a huge rock covered over with gray lichens.

All these giant trees and boulders of granite seemed intent on making a mystery of the course of this small brook; fearing, perhaps, that, with its never-ceasing loquacity, it should whisper tales out of the heart of the old forest whence it flowed, or mirror its revelations on the smooth surface of a pool.

Continually, indeed, as it stole onward, the streamlet kept up a babble, kind, quiet, soothing, but melancholy, like the voice of a young child that was spending its infancy without playfulness, and knew not how to be merry among sad acquaintance and events of sombre hue.

Oh, foolish and tiresome little brook!Taking off the scarlet letter, Hester seems to release them both from an earthly prison. But there is one last hurdle to cross: the meeting between Pearl and Dimmesdale.


In this chapter, Hawthorne's descriptions of Pearl reinforce her mysterious and ethereal nature. begun to forgive her, and now see the letter A as standing for “Able”. What the narrator means by saying, “the scarlet letter had not done its office”, is that the letter hasn’t done what it is meant to do, its job.

The letter is not punishing Hester as much as it should be. Describe the changes in . Home > English > Literature Classic Books > The Scarlet Letter - Navigate Here - EDITOR'S NOTE THE CUSTOM-HOUSE: INTRODUCTORY Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter New the scarlet letter chapter 11 ideas scarlet letter chapter 13 summary design of quiz worksheet the synopsis study the scarlet letter chapter 11 summary tomlaverty throughout 24 the scarlet letter chapter 11 newThe Scarlet Letter Chapter 11 Summary Tomlaverty ThroughoutThe Scarlet Letter Chapter 11 You WithThe Scarlet Letter By Alyssa BrockmanQuiz Worksheet The Scarlet .

In chapter 17, Hester confesses Chillingworth's personal information to Dimmesdale. Dimmsdale is unwilling to forgive her, but finally he does indeed so of his own free will. He makes a spot of requesting God for forgiveness for both of them.

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The Scarlet Pimpernel chapter 17