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Scarlet Letter Character Analysis Essay

1. “God, as a direct consequence of the sin which man thus punished, had given her a lovely child, whose place was on that same dishonored bosom, to connect her parent for ever with the race and descent of mortals, and to be finally a blessed soul in heaven!” Page 92 2. “If the children gathered about her, as they sometimes did, Pearl would grow positively terrible in her puny wrath, snatching up stones to fling at them, with shrill, incoherent exclamations that made her mother tremble, because they had so much the sound of a witch’s anathemas in some unknown tongue.” Page 97 3. “Years had come and gone. Pearl was now seven years old.” Page 166 4. “But in good earnest now, mother dear, what does this scarlet letter mean?–and why dost thou wear it on thy bosom?–and why does the minister keep his hand over his heart?”

Page 186 b. Roger Chillingworth

1 “It irks me, nevertheless, that the partner of her iniquity should not, at least, stand on the scaffold by her side. But he will be known!–he will be known!–he will be known!” Page 65 2. “My old studies in alchemy,” observed he, “and my sojourn, for above a year past, among a people well versed in the kindly properties of simples, have made a better physician of me than many that claim the medical degree.”

Page 75 3. “Recognize me not, by word, by sign, by look! Breathe not the secret, above all, to the man thou wottest of. Shouldst thou fail me in this, beware! His fame, his position, his life, will be in my hands. Beware!” Page 80 4. “There is a strange secrecy in his nature,” replied Hester, thoughtfully; “and it has grown upon him by the hidden practices of his revenge. I deem it not likely that he will betray the secret. He will doubtless seek other means of satiating his dark passion.”

Page 204 c. Arthur Dimmesdale

1. “Never!” replied Hester Prynne, looking, not at Mr. Wilson, but into the deep and troubled eyes of the younger clergyman. “It is too deeply branded. Ye cannot take it off. And would that I might endure his agony, as well as mine!” Page 71 2. “The sensitive clergyman shrank, with nervous dread, from the light missile.” Page 139 3. “He stood, at this moment, on the very proudest eminence of superiority, to which the gifts of intellect, rich lore, prevailing eloquence, and a reputation of whitest sanctity, could exalt a clergyman in New England’s earliest days, when the professional character was of itself a lofty pedestal.” Page 260 4. “About this period, however, the health of Mr. Dimmesdale had evidently begun to fail.”

Page 123 d. Hester Prynne

1. “Hester Prynne, nevertheless, the lonely mother of this one child, ran little risk of erring on the side of undue severity. Mindful, however, of her own errors and misfortunes, she early sought to impose a tender, but strict, control over the infant immortality that was committed to her charge.” 2. “It was a look so intelligent, yet inexplicable, so perverse, sometimes so malicious, but generally accompanied by a wild flow of spirits, that Hester could not help questioning, at such moments, whether Pearl was a human child.” Page 95 3.

“But, under the leaden infliction which it was her doom to endure, she felt, at moments, as if she must needs shriek out with the full power of her lungs, and cast herself from the scaffold down upon the ground, or else go mad at once.” Page 59 4. “Her needle-work was seen on the ruff of the Governor; military men wore it on their scarfs, and the minister on his band; it decked the baby’s little cap; it was shut up, to be mildewed and moulder away, in the coffins of the dead.”

Page 86 III. Part Three

a. Pearl

Pearl is a wild and free spirited little girl who loves her mother with great passion. On page 214, “A wolf, it is said,–but here the tale has surely lapsed into the improbable,–came up, and smelt of Pearl’s robe, and offered his savage head to be patted by her hand. The truth seems to be, however, that the mother-forest, and these wild things which it nourished, all recognized a kindred wildness in the human child.” The quote here represents how Pearl is wild, how she is very close to nature. In the book, Pearl and animals are both outside the Puritan laws of nature.

And on page 214, “Pearl gathered the violets, and anemones, and columbines, and some twigs of the freshest green, which the old trees held down before her eyes. With these she decorated her hair, and her young waist, and became a nymph-child, or an infant dryad, or whatever else was in closest sympathy with the antique wood.” The quote shows that Pearl is free-spirited by describing her as a nymph-child who picks flowers with a spirit so free. So, Hawthorne really represents Pearl as a wild and free child.

b. Roger Chillingworth

Throughout the story, Roger Chillingworth is described as an old man getting affected by his passion for revenge; it changes him physically. On page 176, “All this while, Hester had been looking steadily at the old man, and was shocked, as well as wonder-smitten, to discern what a change had been wrought upon him within the past seven years. It was not so much that he had grown older; for though the traces of advancing life were visible, he bore his age well, and seemed to retain a wiry vigor and alertness.” The quote reveals that Chillingworth gets not only old, but ugly. Recall that the quote says that traces of advancing life were visible; this meant that he truly was getting older.

c. Arthur Dimmesdale

Arthur Dimmesdale is a man filled with guilt, from the beginning to the end his main problem throughout the story is guilt. In chapter 12 on page 158, “The moment that he did so, there came what seemed a tumultuous rush of new life, other life than his own, pouring like a torrent into his heart, and hurrying through all his veins, as if the mother and the child were communicating their vital warmth to his half-torpid system. The three formed an electric chain.” This displays that Dimmesdale has been guilty because it was his first time on the scaffold. When Dimmesdale should have been with Hester and Pearl from the beginning of Hester’s punishment. It’s as if he felt guilty for not going with them from the start when Hester had to stand on the scaffold. Dimmesdale had guilt written all over him from the start, this quote exemplified his feels.

d. Hester Prynne

Hester Prynne is a very passionate person when considering her daughter Pearl. “Let her see nothing strange–no passion or eagerness–in thy way of accosting her,” whispered Hester. “Our Pearl is a fitful and fantastic little elf, sometimes. Especially, she is seldom tolerant of emotion, when she does not fully comprehend the why and wherefore. But the child hath strong affections! She loves me, and will love thee!” Page 216, this quote is important to Hester because it expands on the idea that Hester is passionate about Pearl, or the fact that she is passionate about something. Hester loves Pearl and Pearl loves Hester, her passion is driven by their love for each other.


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