The Scarlet Letter
Study Questions for Chapters 19-21
1. What does Dimmesdale mean when he says, “Oh, Hester, what a thought is that, and how terrible to dread it, that my own features were part repeated in her face, and so strikingly that the world might see them!” He was originally scared to share some facial features with Pearl, in fear of his sins being discovered
2. Why is Pearl upset when her mother calls her? Hester had removed the scarlet letter
3. What is Pearl’s reaction to Dimmesdale? How is Pearl a symbol for Hester and Dimmesdale? She did not like him at all
1. Where have Hester and Dimmesdale decided to go when they leave Boston? Why do they choose to go to Europe rather than remain in the New World? Bristol; it was a more eligible shelter
2. How does it happen that Hester is acquainted with the captain of the ship now in the harbor? Her vocation as a self-enlisted Sister of Charity
3. Why does Dimmesdale consider it fortunate that the ship is not to sail for four days? He was to preach at the Election Sermon in three days
4. When Dimmesdale gets home, he lies to Chillingworth, What is this lie? He does not need his medicine
5. The minister also does something else, something that points him to a different direction in his life. What does he do that evening to show that he is changed? He rewrote the Election Sermon
"The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is an allegorical novel filled with a great deal of symbolism that is both veiled and explicit. The scarlet letter "A" on Hester Prynne's chest may seem easy to interpret, but in reality, it is one of the most ambiguous symbols in the book. Furthermore, various characters can construe the scarlet letter differently. As time passes throughout the story, ...
1. In this chapter, Hawthorne shows us a different side of Puritansim. How is it different from the descriptions in the previous chapters?
2. What does Hester learn from the shipmaster that changes her happy mood?
3. What have the crowds of people gathered in the market-place to witness?
4. Of what ceremony in England was the Election Day pageantry a pale imitation?
5. What is particularly noticeable about Dimmesdale’s manner as he walks in the procession?
6. Where does Hester stand during the procession and during Dimmesdale’s sermon in the church?