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Quotes And Meanings From The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

2369 words - 10 pages

Quote Meaning/Significance
“The magistrate are God-fearing gentlemen, but merciful overmuch, - that is a truth," added a third autumnal matron. "At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne's forehead. Madame Hester would have winced at that, I warrant me. But she, - the naughty baggage, - little will she care what they put upon the bodice of her gown! Why, look you, she may cover it with a brooch, or such like heathenish adornment, and so walk the streets as brave as ever!”
- Chapter 2, paragraph 5 According to the matron, she thinks that being publicly shamed is a bit too merciful. Although this particular woman does not promote that Hester be executed, ...view middle of the document...

She is smiling as if to say, “Go ahead, stare, talk, judge me if you will.” It almost seems like she has pride in letter she wears and that she does not care what people are saying about her.
Measured by the prisoner's experience, however, it might reckoned a journey of some length; for, haughty as her demeanor was, she perchance underwent an agony from every footstep of those that thronged to see her, as if her heart had been flung in the street for them all to spurn and trample upon.
- Chapter 2, paragraph 17 Literally, the entire town has turned out to see Hester being paraded through the streets like she is some sort of a “criminal.” To the Puritan town, she is a criminal. Poor, Hester is being completely surrounded by the people of the community, forced to hear the whispering and the judging. Although she is surrounded, she
"Be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him; for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee, on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, than to hide a guilty heart through life. What can thy silence do for him, except it tempt him - yea, compel him, as it were - to add hypocrisy to sin?"
- Chapter 3, paragraph 26 Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is speaking to Hester Prynne. He practically begs her to place the blame where it belongs, but she refuses. When the whole community is frothing at the mouth to shame someone else, she chooses to protect Dimmesdale and not tell the community that he is also to blame for the “crime.”
As he spoke, he laid his long forefinger on the scarlet letter, which for with seemed to scorch into Hester's breast, as if it had been red-hot. He noticed her involuntary gesture, and smiled. "Live, therefore, and bear about thy doom with thee, in the eyes of men and women - in the eyes of him thou didst call thy husband - in the eyes of yonder child! And, that thou mayst live, take off this draught.”
- Chapter 4, paragraph 13 Roger Chillingworth to Hester Prynne.
Roger wants Hester and Arthur to feel their punishment and the judgment of others as fully as possible. Even though he's constantly being called the Devil in this story.
"It was my folly! I have said it. But up to that epoch of my life, I had lived in vain. The world had been so cheerless! My heart was a habitation large enough for many guests, but lonely and chill and without a household fire. I longed to kindle one!"
- Chapter 4, paragraph 18 Roger Chillingworth to Hester Prynne.
This quote almost makes you feel sympathy in a way for Roger Chillingworth. It’s depressing.
"Here on this wild outskirt of earth, I shall pitch my tent for, elsewhere a wanderer, and isolated from human interests, I find here a woman, a man, a child, amongst whom and myself there exist the closest ligaments." - Chapter 4, paragraph 26 Roger Chillingworth to Hester Prynne.
We find out how much Roger and Hester have in common. They are both holding a deep secret, they are unhappy and they...

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