Dimmesdale is a changed man after the encounter in the forest. He has the urge
to do terrible things. He wants to teach kids bad words and worse things than
that. The encounter in the woods improves his health significantly, but you can
tell something terrible is going to happen as he is talking about the terrible
things he wishes to do.
Hester tries to get Pearl to come over to her and Dimmesdale, but Pearl won't
come back over until her mother puts back on the "A." Pearl kisses her mother
and the letter, but refuses Dimmesdale's because he will not walk into town with
them. "“I see what ails the child,” whispered Hester to the clergyman, and
turning pale in spite of a strong effort to conceal her
trouble and annoyance. “Children will not abide any, the
slightest, change in the accustomed aspect of things that
are daily before their eyes. Pearl misses something which she has always
seen me wear!" Pearl controls her mother.
Hester is so excited about the plan. She takes the scarlet letter off of her
chest and throws it on the ground. When she does so the sunlight will come to
her now. Basically what this is saying is that when she stop beating herself up
about her sins she could be happy again. "The scarlet letter was [Hester’s]
passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair,
Solitude! These had been her teachers, —stern and wild ones, and they had made
her strong, but taught her much amiss"
Hester tells Dimmesdale about Chillingsworth. At first he was upset, but then he
got over it. She tells him that he needs to get away from Chillingsworth's
torment. They decide that they are going to go to Europe together with Pearl.
"The minister looked at her, for an instant, with all that violence of passion,
which—intermixed, in more shapes than one, with his higher,
purer, softer qualities—was, in fact, the portion of him which the Devil claimed, and through which he sought to win
the rest. Never was there a blacker or a fiercer frown, than
Hester now encountered. For the brief space that it lasted, it was a dark
transfiguration." This was Dimmesdale thinking he was so
"“Mother,” said little Pearl, “the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and
hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom. . . . It will not
flee from me; for I wear nothing on my bosom yet!”" In this quote sunshine
represents happiness. Happiness runs from Hester because of her sin. The reason
that happiness doesn't run from Pearl is because she has yet to commit a large
sin that would make happiness run from her. Hester waits for Dimmesdale on the
edge of the forest because she is in need of a talk. While they are waiting
Pearl asks her about the 'Black man.' In this she is referring to the devil.
When Dimmesdale walks up she thinks he is the devil at first, but then realizes
it is just the minister. Then she wonders if maybe the mark that was left on his
chest was left there by the devil.
Pearl asks her mother about the letter. Hester goes to try to explain it to her,
but then realizes that she is too young to know about it and she might not be
able to keep a secret. The thing is though she also asks about minister
Dimmesdale and the way he clutches at his heart all the time. I think she knows
that somehow they are connected. She is more perceptive than most of the people
in the town, to be a child pearl seems to be one of the most perceptive people i
In this chapter Hester and Chillingsworth have a conversation about how terribly
Chillingsworth is treating Dimmesdale. Hester realizes that Chillingsworth has
turned into the devil. "In a word, old Roger Chillingsworth was a striking
evidence of man’s faculty of transforming himself into a
Devil, if he will only, for a reasonable space of time,
undertake a Devil’s office. This unhappy person had effected such a
transformation by devoting himself, for seven years, to the constant
analysis of a heart full of torture, and deriving his
enjoyment thence, and adding fuel to those fiery tortures
which he analyzed and gloated over."
Hester is such an amazing person that people start to think of the "A" as
standing for able instead of adultery. Hester starts to worry that Chillingsworth
might be doing harm to Dimmesdale. " It is to the credit of human
nature, that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves
more readily than it hates. Hatred, by a gradual and quiet
process, will even be transformed to love, unless the change
be impeded by a continually new irritation of the original
feeling of hostility. In this matter of Hester Prynne, there
was neither irritation nor irksomeness. She never battled with the
public, but submitted uncomplainingly to its worst usage; she made no
claim upon it, in requital for what she suffered; she did
not weigh upon its sympathies." This shows that the townspeople eventually got
over hating Hester.
Dimmesdale goes onto the scaffold and when he does the pain becomes almost
unbearable so he cries out and he thinks people may have heard him. Hester and
Pearl come up later and hold hands with him. Pearl asks him if he will hold
hands with her and her mother tomorrow at noon. He says no, but he will be there
beside them on judgment day. A meteor lights up the sky and it is in the shape
of an "A" some think it stands for angel others think for adultery.
Chillingsworth sees him up there with them and relizes hio
Continuing to use his mind games to torment and torture Dimmesdale,
Chillingsworth makes his revenge as terrible as possible. Chillingsworth is now
showing his true colors he is a cold hearted man with no sense of remorse.
During this time Dimmesdale's mind was in turmoil, but he gave his most powerful
sermons most of which were based on the concepts of sin. This chapter is mostly
within the church as Dimmesdale delivers his sermons. As Dimmesdale is at home
he contemplates going to the scaffold were Hester received her
punishment to try and ease his ever growing since of guilt.