Scarlet Letter Test

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What is the setting of the story

Boston Massachusetts (New England)

What legend accounts for the existence of the rose bush by the prison door?

That their fragrance and fragile beauty might show the prisoner that nature could pity and be kind to him. That it had sprung up under the footsteps.

What is the mood of the crowd, and why is their attention focused on the door?

They were arguing the anticipated execution of Hester Prynne

What reasons are given as to why Hester Prynne was not executed for her crime

They did not know who her husband was so they could not charge her, and the penalty of mocking & ridicule was almost as bad as death itself back then.

What memories does Hester review during her three hour ordeal on the scaffold?

Her old house, her old neighbors, and old England. School days, sports, childish quarrels, and her husband

In the beginning of the book where is Pearl while Hester is on the Scaffold?

In Hester's arms

In the beginning of the book where is Reverend Dimmesdale while Hester is on the Scaffold?

On the balcony

In the beginning of the book where is Roger Chillingworth while Hester is on the Scaffold?

In the back of the crowd

What specifically is Dimmesdale's plea to Hester

To tell the name of the man she committed adultery with

Durning the interview, what is Chillingworth's attidue toward Hester and her act of adultery

He was rude to her and wanted her to live in shame of what she had did

What promise does Chilling exact from Hester?

That he was going to hunt/ruin the man WITH OUT violence

After her ordeal, where did Hester choose to live? Why?

On the outskirt of society, by herself with her daughter. So she would not have to face society.

What occupation did Hester take up

Embroidering

Describe Hester's appearance and mental state durning this time period.

She looked poor except for the Scarlet Letter which was extravagant, she was lonely and bitter, shameful

Give at least three examples of Hester's treatment by the community

They would stare at her.
Yell insults
Fling mud.

Describe Pearl's personality and appearance

She was incredibly beautiful. She was a rebel and was thought to be a little imp

What is Pearl's reaction to the Scarlet Letter?

she mocked her mother

Why does Hester go to the Governor's house?

because she was going to drop off the gloves. But she also heard that they were going to take away, and she wanted to try to connivence them to let her keep her

Describe the luxury of the Governor's home, especially in contrast to an ordinary Puritan's lifestyle

The Governor's house was luxurious. It was full of armor and paintings and lots of metal. It has ponderous chairs with elaborately carved chairs. A Puritans home was just simple, it only had the necessities.

How does Pearl be have when questioned by the men

She becomes different, her attitude changes she becomes dark.

How does Hester succeed in her mission, and how does this relate to her conversation with Mistress Hibbins?

She's able to keep Pearl

What are the townspeople's reactions to Chillingworth's lodging in the same house as Dimmesdale?

Many are happy that a doctor will be close at hand to tend to their beloved minister. It is seen as the answer to their prayers. Others begin to notice changes in Chillingworth's appearance and personality, and rumors circulate that he might be in league with the devil. If there is any conflict between Chillingworth and Dimmesdale, they are sure the goodness in Dimmesdale will win out

What changes have taken place in Chillingworth over the years?

here was something ugly and evil in his face. It was widely held that he was the devil or the devil's agent come to persecute Dimmesdale.

What actions does Dimmesdale take to punish himself?

Over the years Dimmesdale has taken to whipping his shoulders with a scourge, fasting until weak with hunger, and staying awake in night-long vigils

Why is Chillingworth called a "leech," and why, at another point, does the narrator compare him to a miner?

Doctors used leeches to draw out bad blood, and the ironic use here is appropriate. Chillingworth is also presented as someone who was entering into the interior of a heart and digging, like a miner, to take out something precious.

What is the significance of Chillingworth's examining Dimmesdale's chest?

Dimmesdale often clutches his chest and to this point has not allowed Chillingworth, his doctor, to examine him. Since Chillingworth suspects the minister has committed the same sin as Hester, it follows that he might be pained symbolically and literally in the same spot as she

What is the reaction of Dimmesdale's parishioners to his sermons?

Ironically, the more earnestly Dimmesdale tells them that he is a sinner, the more powerful his sermons are to those who see him as the model of virtue. If this saintly man has sinned, they must be very unworthy of God's blessing.

For what reasons are the major characters at the scaffold during the night?

Dimmesdale feels he might have more peace within himself if he stands at the place of atonement even though it is under the cover of night. The others are passing by after leaving the deathbed of Governor Winthrop: Hester as a nurse and shroud maker, Pearl as her companion, and Chilling-worth as his doctor.

Why does Dimmesdale cry out while on the scaffold?Why does Dimmesdale cry out while on the scaffold?

Dimmesdale shrieks out of horror at the thought that his guilt is exposed to the view of the universe. He calls to Wilson out of a fatalistic impulse that tells him he will soon be exposed because he feels he cannot move

Where is each major character located when the meteor is seen?

Dimmesdale, Hester, and Pearl are on the scaffold while Chillingworth is approaching it

What are the various interpretations the characters attribute to the shape of the meteor?

Dimmesdale interprets the shape to indicate that Heaven has taken notice of his guilt. The townspeople interpret the "A" to stand for "Angel" for the taking into heaven of Governor Winthrop.

What are the effects of the letter on Hester Prynne over this seven year interval?

Her quiet acceptance of her status and her charity work have won her respect. The scarlet letter is now said to stand for "Able" and is even said by some to have a supernatural power to protect the wearer, but the letter and Pearl's reaction to it are a source of continual pain. On the surface Hester is uncomplaining and somber, but her passions have been redirected into thoughts about the individual's role in society.

What crime has Hester committed which, if known to the Puritans, would have resulted in her death?

Hester's free speculation about life and her abandonment of Puritan values, if known, would have been held a far deadlier crime than adultery.

What value does Hester place upon her life?

Hester sees little hope for improvement in her condition and, at times, considers killing both Pearl and herself and taking her chances in the afterlife.

What does Hester see as necessary before women would be treated equally in society?

Hester believes that the whole of society must be torn down and the rules of conduct as proscribed by the Puritan leaders must be done away with. Secondly, men must change their attitudes towards women and their capabilities. Finally, women must change their images of themselves and take the means of power equally with men.

What is the meaning of the line, "the scarlet letter had not done its office"?

"Office" means the job for which it was intended. The letter was intended to make Hester remorseful of her sin and eager to keep in line with Puritan values. In fact, it has done the opposite, even bringing her to the point of considering murder and suicide.

Why does Hester feel responsible for Dimmesdale's physical condition?

Hester feels her promise not to reveal Chillingworth's identity is allowing the doctor to torment the minister, causing his physical deterioration.

What favors does Chillingworth feel he has done for Dimmesdale?

Chillingworth feels he has kept the minister from being imprisoned or even executed by keeping his part in the adultery secret. In fact, it has been the doctor's continued care that has kept Dimmesdale alive.

Why is Chillingworth even more vengeful towards Dimmesdale?

The doctor, now aware of the fiendish person he has become in his pursuit of revenge, feels Dimmesdale has done this to him and is therefore even more deserving of punishment. He takes no responsibility for his actions.

When is Hester untrue to the scarlet letter?

Although Hester has not been open with Pearl about the letter, this is the first time she has ever lied to Pearl. Pearl knows Hester is lying. She cannot bring herself to tell the child about her illegitimacy and says she wears the letter only for its value as a decoration.

What is the current relationship between Hester and Pearl?

Pearl is beginning to show traits of affection for her mother, and Hester considers confiding in her. Another change is reflected in Hester's stern warning to Pearl to be quiet as she continues asking about the letter. Before this time she could not find it within herself to be harsh with the child.

Why does Hester prefer to meet with Dimmesdale in the forest rather than in the settlement?

Hester prefers the openness of the forest for their important talk. She also fears the interference of Chillingworth if the two meet anywhere in the settlement.

What significance can be attributed to the play of sunlight on Pearl and Hester?

Here, sunlight seems to symbolize happiness and acceptance of the individual by nature. Pearl delights in the light while it eludes Hester when she reaches for it.

What story does Pearl hear of her mother's involvement with the Black Man of the Forest?

Pearl has overheard rumors that her mother meets regularly with the devil in the forest. Hester denies this and admits to meeting with the devil once and receiving the scarlet letter from him. Hester is referring here to her instance of adultery but an argument can be made that her independent thinking is her ongoing sin, thus representing her ongoing meetings with the devil.

What are Dimmesdale's reactions when Hester tells him Chillingworth's true identity?

Dimmesdale is astonished to learn that Chillingworth is Hester's former husband. He gives her an evil look and refuses at first to forgive her. Hester holds him fiercely and insists that he forgive her.

What effect does Hester have upon Dimmesdale?

Unable to think or act clearly, Dimmesdale says, "Be thou strong for me!" It is Hester who excites him with the possibility of escape.

How does Pearl fit into the forest setting?

Pearl moves naturally and happily in the forest. The sunlight delights her, the berries feed her, the flowers adorn her, and the forest animals accept her as a natural part of the scene.

Why does Pearl refuse to retrieve the scarlet letter herself?

Pearl wants her mother to retrieve the scarlet letter herself and put it back on.

Why does Pearl insist that the scarlet letter be replaced?

The narrator suggests that Pearl may be reluctant to return from the natural world and directly states that she feels excluded from her mother's affection by the presence of Dimmesdale. Dimmesdale says that Pearl could be having a natural reaction to seeing a change in her mother's appearance or could very well be a devilish spirit.

What is the effect on Hester when she replaces the letter on her bosom?

Hester, forced to put the letter back on, has a sense of "inevitable doom." She puts up her hair back under her cap and again becomes the somber person she had been for seven years

What is the significance of Pearl's reaction to the minister?

Pearl focuses on the need for Dimmesdale to openly acknowledge his lover and illegitimate daughter. Pearl's washing off of his kiss sets us up for her eventual acceptance of his kiss in the climatic scene of the novel

What is Hester's plan for Dimmesdale, Pearl, and herself?

To get on a ship and go to Europe, with its crowds they would fit in better there. They needed to live in a civilized place

What is Dimmesdale tempted to do as he returns to his room? Why?

He is tempted to teach dirty words to a group of small puritan children.
Because this is a reaction to the freedom and passion that Dimmesdale now feels. He is so full of emotion that he's ready to act in a complete opposite to what his beliefs teach him.

What decision does he make as he reaches his lodging?

Dimmesdale decides that he will leave after the Election Day sermon, as he still has that duty to perform. He believes that after that sermon is complete, it will be known that he left "no public duty unperformed

What does the Puritan celebration tell about their values?

That they take it very seriously

How has Chillingworth interfered with Hester's plan?

Hes coming on the ship w/ Hester & Dimmesdale. He's going to try cooking too..

What does the procession show about Puritan values?

It shows that that the Puritans valued their religion first and foremost in the community

What is the minister's mental state as he walks to the meeting-house? What effect does he have upon Hester?

He was full of energy and confidence

where is Hester standing durning Dimmesdale's sermon

Hester stands near the foot of the scaffold, in order that she might listen to and hear Dimmesdale's speech clearly

Why does Hester become the center of the crowd's attention? What irony does the narrator see in the scene?

The irony was found in the scarlet letter he had imprinted upon his skin. He wore the letter with shame, but he did so privately..... Hester wore her letter and suffered public shame, but she also healed..... Dimmesdale never had the chance.

"Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold calling Hester, who slowly comes over to him. Chillingworth bitterly tells Dimmesdale that there is no place on earth he could have escaped to, except on the scaffold, where he would have been safe. Hester is terrified that all three of them will die after this spectacle.
The crowd is bewildered by the actions of the minister. He tells them that he should have stood with Hester seven years earlier. Dimmesdale then indicates that he has secretly worn the badge of the scarlet letter the whole time, without anyone knowing it. At that, "he tore away the ministerial band from before his breast. It was revealed!"
Dimmesdale then sinks down to his knees and asks Pearl to kiss him now. She does, and "a spell was broken ... her tears fell upon her father's cheek, they were the pledge that she would grow up amid human joy and sorrow, nor forever do battle with the world. Towards
her mother, too, Pearl's errand as a messenger of anguish was all fulfilled." Dimmesdale then dies on the scaffold

What is Pearl doing durning the sermon?

During Dimmesdale's sermon, little Pearl was playing in the market place while her mother was listening to the sermon from her hiding spot in the back under the scaffolding.

What is the topic and mood of Dimmesdale's sermon

Dimmesdale's sermon is a passionate and surprisingly positive one about the relationship of God to the Puritan community and about the "high and glorious destiny for the newly gathered people of the Lord."

Describe the minister's condition after the speech, and tell which people offer him assistance

Dimmesdale seems near death. He rejects the assistance of Reverend Wilson and of Governor Bellingham, but accepts the help of Hester as he mounts the scaffold.

Where are the four major characters durning the final scaffold scene

All four, Hester, Pearl, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth, are now on the scaffold

What changes occur in Pearl? What does she accept from Dimmesdale?

Dimmesdale's kiss acknowledges Pearl as his child, and breaks the spell which seems to have held Pearl captive. She cries and, we are told, will be a normal person from this moment onward.

What moral does the narrator say in the central of the story?

"Be true! Be true! Be true!" The inability of Dimmesdale to be honest is pointed to as the central cause of the ongoing distress.

What are the various versions of what was seen on Dimmesdale's Chest?

The narrator again is ambiguous. A red letter "A" was seen and was said to be either cut or burnt in by Dimmesdale, made to appear by his guilt feelings and heaven's judgment, put there by Chillingworth's medicines or magic, or was never there at all.

What is the effect of Dimmesdale's confession on Chillingworth ?

Frustrated by Dimmesdale's confession and death, Chillingworth withers away and dies within a year.

What is the effect of Chillingworth's legacy to Pearl?

The great amount of land left to Pearl allows her and Hester to leave Boston.

Describe the circumstances of Hester's return to Salem?

Several years later Hester returns to Boston. She takes up her residence in the cottage and resumes her drab dress accented by the scarlet letter.

Are the two lovers ever united?

Dimmesdale's last words presumed that their sin meant they would never have a perfect union. In death they are buried near, but not beside, each other. Whether Hester and Dimmesdale are united in heaven is left unsaid.

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