Scarlet Letter Chapters 4-6 Quotes

“Why dost thou smile so at me?” inquired Hester, troubled at the expression of his eyes. “Art thou like the Black Man that haunts the forest round about us? Hast thou enticed me into a bond that will prove the ruin of my soul?” You’d think that, if you sold your soul to the devil, you’d know about it—but here, Hester is trying to figure out if she actually did. Apparently, Chillingworth is so good as the whole creepy thing that he’s actually being confused for the Devil.((((Hester Prynne > Roger Chillingworth))))))
As he spoke, he laid his long forefinger on the scarlet letter, which forwith seemed to scortch 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.” The interesting thing is that instead of killing people, Chillingworth keeps them alive. He wants Hester and Dimmesdale to be as healthy as can be so they can feel their punishment and the judgment of others as fully as possible. Even though he’s constantly being called the Devil in this story, Chillingworth is all about life and health.((((((Roger Chillingworth > Hester Prynne)))))
“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!” Chillingworth trying to make us readers and Hester Prynne feel bad for him. (((((((Roger Chillingworth > Hester Prynne))))))))))
“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.” Roger Chillingworth > Hester Prynne
Chapter 5
“They averred that the symbol was not mere scarlet cloth tinged in an earthly dyepot, but was red-hot with infernal fire, and could be seen glowing all alight whenever Hester Prynne walked abroad in the nighttime. And we must needs say it seared Hester’s bosom so deeply, that perhaps there was more truth in the rumor than our modern incredulity may be inclined to admit.” Infernal life is a hefty thing to have on your chest And yet, people seem to be more taken by its color and its glowing qualities than they are by what it represents (adultery, temptation, the Devil). We get a feeling that these townspeople are kind of in awe of the scarlet A and not for entirely negative reasons. It almost seems like the townspeople talk more about the A than they do about Hester’s sin.((((((Narrator)))))))
“Throughout them all, giving up her individuality, she would become the general symbol at which the preacher and moralist might point, and in which they might vivify and embody their images of woman’s frailty and sinful passion. Thus the young and pure would be taught to look at her, with the scarlet letter flaming on her breast,—at her, the child of honorable parents,—at her, the mother of a babe, that would hereafter be a woman, —at her, who had once been innocent, —as the figure, the body, the reality of sin. And over her grave, the infamy that she must carry thither would be her only monument. “ Hester isn’t an individual woman anymore. Now she’s just a Fallen Woman, an example to all the other girls who might be battling woman’s “frailty and sinful passion.”(Narrator))))
“The days of the far-off future would toil onward, still with the same burden for her to take up, and bear along with her, but never to fling down; for the accumulating days, and added years, would pile up their misery upon the heap of shame.” Hester’s punishment isn’t to wear the scarlet letter for a year, or even five years: it’s to wear it for the rest of her life, and to be ostracized and shunned until the day she dies. Forgiveness doesn’t even enter into it.(((((Narrator)))))
“In all her intercourse with society, however, there was nothing that made her feel as if she belonged to it. Every gesture, every word, and even the silence of those with whom she came in contact, implied, and often expressed, that she was banished, and as much alone as if she had inhabited another sphere, or communicated with the common nature by other organs than the rest of human kind.” She may have a job and some charity work to keep her busy, but she’s not exactly winning any friends. In fact, the Puritans are so busy making sure she knows that she’s not part of their little clique that we’re surprised they have time to read their Bibles.(Narrator speaking about Hester)
Chapter 6
“The unlikeliest materials—a stick, a bunch of rags, a flower—were the puppets of Pearl’s witchcraft, and, without undergoing any outward change, became spiritually adapted to whatever drama occupied the stage of her inner world.” But to the Puritan kids, who only know how to play at going to church and “scourging Quakers,” this wild imagination probably does seem a lot like witchcraft.((((((Narrator))))))))
“Pearl would grow positively terrible in her puny wrath, snatching up stones to fling at them, with shrill, incoherent exclamations that made her mother tremble because they had so much the sound of a witch’s anathemas in some unknown tongue. “ she was born in a prison, she lives with her mother in a tiny cottage far away from town, and kids say mean things to her all day long. We don’t know about you, but we’d be cursing up a storm if we were in Pearl’s position.(((((((((Narrator)))))))))

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