Hester, on the other hand, returns years later and lives the rest of her days bearing the mark of the scarlet letter. Later, it will be revealed that Dimmesdale himself is the father.
Without treatment, this wound has become infected.
Pearl fashions a green letter A out of grass. Hester convinces Dimmesdale to run away with her and Pearl so that they can start over together as a family.
Intuitively, the girl understands that Hester wears the A for the same reason that Dimmesdale places his hand over his heart. She is then allowed to build a business as a seamstress—a role in which she thrives, despite the contempt, condescension, and verbal abuse she suffers at the hands of her neighbors and patrons.
Following the interrogation, Hester and Prynne meet in private, where the two apologize for their respective offenses Hester for her adultery and Prynne for his long absence, as well as for marrying such a young, vital woman—and at his age.
In this scene, however, Hester is the only other person who knows this, and Pearl speaks to her father, unaware of his true identity.
While on the scaffold, Hester sees her husband, Mr. Prynne, a physician who has just now returned to Boston. The doctor sees the wound, but chooses not to treat it. He rethinks their plan, which, unfortunately, cannot be put into action for four days, when the boat that will take them away from Boston departs.
The Reverend delivers a moving sermon that week, following which he reveals the scarlet letter on his chest. In a shameful public ceremony, Hester is forced to stand on a scaffold for more than three hours and submit to an interrogation.
Prynne was suspected of having been killed by Native Americans and thus was not recognized by anyone but Hester. She bears these criticisms well. Hester Prynne, a young wife whose husband has been missing for over a year, is accused of adultery following the birth of her infant daughter Pearl.
She hopes that they will meet again in Heaven and live out eternity together. She wishes Chillingworth would exact his revenge on her instead of Dimmesdale.
Hester and Chillingworth, however, are the only ones who see him, and they take Dimmesdale home to rest. In effect, she wants to bear the burden of the scarlet letter alone.
He makes her promise not to reveal his true identity and assumes the name Roger Chillingworth. Meanwhile, her daughter, Pearl, grows from an infant to a lovely, vibrant, peculiar little girl.
She is forced to wear a scarlet-colored A on her clothes to mark her as an adulteress. Later, however, Dimmesdale thinks himself into believing that Hester has tempted him into sin.Complete summary of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.
eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Scarlet Letter. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s historical novel The Scarlet Letter explores guilt, revenge, and redemption in colonial America.
Hawthorne blends supernatural elements with psychological insight in his story of one woman’s public punishment for adultery. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter, the characters’ hypocrisy represents the pervasiveness of hypocrisy in all people. Hypocrisy is evident in all of The Scarlet Letter’s main characters: Hester, Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, the town of Boston, and Pearl.
The Scarlet Letter study guide contains a biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. About The Scarlet Letter. In The Scarlet Letter, he witnesses Hester's punishment and is a symbol of civil authority and, combined with John Wilson, of the Puritan Theocracy.
Mistress Hibbins Another historical figure, Ann Hibbins, sister of Governor Bellingham, was executed for witchcraft in Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
The Scarlet Letter. The scarlet letter is meant to be a symbol of shame, but instead it becomes a powerful symbol of identity to Hester. The letter’s meaning shifts as time passes.Download