Monday, October 29, 2012

The Scarlet Letter – Summary Chapter XIII – XVI

Chapter XIII – Another View of Hester

Seven years after Pearl was born, now people saw Hester as a kind and charitable woman who always helped the needs; that the letter ‘A’ on her bosom had a new meaning of ‘Able’. Hester herself has changed from a woman with passion and feeling to one full of thoughts; and seeing Dimmesdale on his last vigil, Hester resolved to rescue him by confronting Roger Chillingworth.

Side note:
A dark question often rose into Hester’s mind with reference to womanhood: “Was existence worth accepting, even to the happiest among them?” –a hint of feminism? (p. 140)

Chapter XIV – Hester and the Physician

Talking to Chillingworth, Hester realized how he had transformed from wise and intellectual man to a fiend; and he refused to let Dimmesdale free. Chillingworth realized his own soul corruption but accepted it as fate, even when Hester threatened that she would reveal the secret.

Chapter XV – Hester and Pearl

Pearl—who was let playing on the seashore—wore seaweeds on her bosom to resemble her mother’s scarlet letter. Pearl kept asking her mother about the meaning of the scarlet letter, and why the minister kept placing his hand over his heart; but Hester did not want to explain the truth, so she lied to Pearl about the scarlet letter.

Side notes:

  • At first Hester wanted to tell the truth about the scarlet letter meaning to Pearl to be able to share her burden, however at last she kept it to herself, why?
  • By lying about the scarlet letter…. “a guardian spirit, who now forsook her, as recognizing that, in spite of his strict watch over her heart, some new evil had crept into it, or some old one had never been expelled.” (p. 154)

Chapter XVI – A Forest Walk

Hester and Pearl had a walk in the forest to intercept Dimmesdale, to warn him about the danger of Chillingsworth’s company for his soul. Pearl asked her mother about the Black Man, whether he had anything to do with the scarlet letter on her bosom and with the minister’s habit to place his hand on his heart.

My thoughts:
Pearl: “And, Mother, he has his hand over his heart! Is it because, when the minister wrote his name in the book (Black Man’s book), the Black Man set his mark in that place? But why does he not wear it outside his bosom, as thou dost, Mother?” Well, that’s a good observation, child! You should be proud of your mother, who had the courage to admit her wrong doing, and not hiding under a hypocrite mask. (p. 159)

Side note:
What about the scene of Pearl catching the sunshine (and eventually could catch it)? Did it point to Pearl’s innocent vs Hester’s sin? (“Mother, the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hide itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom.”) p. 156


  1. Wiih.. aku baca novel ini dulu pas SMP. Ada filmnya yang main Demi Moore kan ya kalo nggak salah? Hehe

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