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Short Answer Study Guide Questions - The Scarlet Letter
Terms in this set (32)
Identify Hester Prynne, Pearl, Rev. Mr. Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth
Hester Prynne: adulteress, has the letter 'a' on her clothing.
Pearl: Daughter of Hester and Rev. Dimmesdale
Rev. Mr. Dimmesdale: young clergyman from a English University
Roger Chillingworth: practitioner who is determined to find out the man who paired with Hester and gave Hester the Scarlet Letter.
What emblem did Hester have to wear? Why was she sentenced to wear it?
Hester wears a scarlet 'A' because she was caught in the sin of adultery.
What information did Hester refuse to tell the officials and Mr. Dimmesdale?
The name of the man who had sinned with her
What was the relationship between Hester and Roger Chillingworth?
They were married but had been separated
What did Hester promise to Roger Chillingworth?
To conceal his true identity
Hester is released from prison. Why doesn't she run away to a different settlement?
She feels her soul may be purged if she lives there, disgraced.
How did Hester support herself and Pearl?
Pearl is the beautiful, graceful, and impish daughter of Hester.
Describe Hester's feelings towards Pearl.
Hester loves Pearl. Pearl is the most important thing to Hester. Though sometimes Pearl scares Hester, and makes Hester question if Pearl is a human child.
Why did Hester go to see Governor Bellingham?
To plead to keep Pearl.
What did Hester and Pearl see in the breastplate of armor? What is the significance of the exaggeration?
They saw the Scarlet Letter. The importance of that exaggeration is to look, for a moment, through the eyes of the people Hester passes in street, the 'A' is all they see.
Mr. Wilson asks Pearl, "Canst thou tell me, my child, who made thee?" What is Pearl's answer? Why did she say that?
Pearl tells him that '. . .she had not been made at all, but had been plucked by her mother of the bush of wild roses, that grew by the prison-door'. (pg 90) The book suggests that Pearl gave that answer because she wanted a rose off of the bush moments before and so it had been on her mind.
What convinced the Governor to let Hester keep Pearl?
Hester would constantly remind Pearl of the consequences of sin
How did Roger Chillingworth become Dimmesdale's medical advisor?
The church elders reminded him it would not be a sin to seek medical help
Who is the leech? Why is he called that in the title of the chapter?
The Leech is Roger Chillingworth. He was called that because he stuck to Mr. Dimmesdale constantly, like a Leech would.
Why did Mr. Dimmesdale rush from the room to end the conversation he had with Roger Chillingworth?
Chillingworth suggested that Mr. Dimmesdale's illness was not just physical but rooted in some secret Mr. Dimmesdale held in his soul. Dimmesdale, recognizing Chillingworth's accuracy, does not wish to reveal his sin to anyone. He runs out of the room to avoid being trapped into a confession.
What does Rev. Dimmesdale's congregation think of him? Why is that ironic?
The congregation believes that he is perfect, though he says repeatedly that he is anything but. This is ironic because the Reverend is a sinner, but the people refuse to accept that fact.
Where did Mr. Dimmesdale go at midnight? Why?
He journeyed to the scaffold where Hester had stood and taken her punishment. He did so to try and punish himself for what he had done, though he did not have the guts to actually come out with what he did.
What did Pearl ask Mr. Dimmesdale?
If he would stand hand in hand with her & Hester on the scaffolding.
What "sign" did the meteor make in the sky?
Where had Mr. Wilson, Hester, Pearl and Roger Chillingworth been that night, that they would all be walking by the scaffolding at midnight?
At the governor's deathbed.
What was the other view of Hester?
". . .the scarlet letter had the effect of the cross on a nun's bosom. It imparted to the wearer a kind of sacredness, which enabled her to walk securely mid all peril." (page 127)
What did Hester tell Roger Chillingworth when they met on the peninsula?
Hester tells him that she is going to tell Rev. Mr. Dimmesdale who Roger Chillingworth really is and was.
Why do Hester and Pearl go to the forest?
When Mr. Dimmesdale finds out that Roger Chillingworth is out for revenge, he knows his religious career in Boston will be at an end and his life will be miserable. What does Hester suggest?
She suggests that Dimmesdale should go away, taking her and Pearl too.
What did Hester have to do by the brook before Pearl would come across?
Hester had to pin the scarlet letter back onto her dress in order to get Pearl to come to her.
Mr. Dimmesdale kissed Pearl. What did she do in response?
When Mr. Dimmesdale kisses Pearl, Pearl runs off to the brook and tries to wash it off.
How did Mr. Dimmesdale's attitude change after he decided to leave Boston with Hester?
What shocking news does the commander of the Bristol ship bring Hester?
Chillingworth will be on the ship
What did Mr. Dimmesdale tell the people of New England before he died?
He confessed that he was the one who had sinned with Hester, that Pearl was his child.
What did the people see when Mr. Dimmesdale took of his ministerial band?
Dimmesdale shows them some mark on his chest. The mark is not described.
What happens to Hester, Pearl and Roger Chillingworth?
Chillingworth dies within a year, Hester and Pearl disappear for a while then Hester comes back years later (alone) and does charity work until she dies. She is buried next to Dimmesdale and shares a headstone with him.
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