The Scarlet Letter Quotes

Chapter 2: “a penalty, which in our days, would refer a degree of mocking infamy and ridicule, might then be interested with almost as strong a dignity as the punishment of death itself” pg 44 this quote shows us how in their time period being shamed was on the same scale of death. This also shows how much they cared of what others had thought of them. They would use this form of punishment.
“Not a stitch in that embroidered letter, but she has felt it in her heart.” pg 46 This shows how the punishment made Hester feel and how it actually did affect her.
Chapter 3: “If they feelest it to be for the soul’s peace, and that thy earthly punishment will thereby be more effectual by salvation, I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow-sinner and fellow-sufferer!” pg 56 This quote explains how they thought at his time period where confession of a sin will gain them salvation. It also shows how they used this as an excuse to get people to confess the “crime” and how crimes and sins were intertwined.
Chapter 4: “…rejoined he, with a smile of dark and self-relying intelligence.” pg 62 This showed me Hester’s husband’s intention: revenge, which may later on be a theme of the book.
Chapter 5: “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 a woman’s frailty and sinful passion,” pg 66 This shows how Hester will become a general model of sin because of the one sin she committed. This also shows their time period as well because women were somewhat portrayed as weak.
“…that would hereafter be a woman,- at her, who had been innocent,-as the figure, the body, the realty of sin. And over her grave, the infamy that she must carry thither would be her only monument” pg 66 This shows how Hester will be looked at as the sin she committed, because the people of that time period were so judgmental. Even to her death.
Chapter 6: “But she named the infant Pearl as being of great price,-purchased with all she had,- her mother’s only treasure.” pg 73 This leads on to one of the possible themes of the book: dedication. Hester gave her daughter everything in her possible power. Also Hester can use Pearl as a motivation/push to move on in life and excel for Pearl.
“In giving her existence, a law had been broken,” pg 74 This shows how Pearl was going to be looked at as a mistake and a sin through out her life. Like the scarlet letter. She’ll be a symbol of her mother’s sin as well.
Chapter 7: “Pearl was the one and only in consequence of that identification had Hester continued so perfectly to represent the Scarlett Letter in her appearance,” pg 82 This, like the quote above shows how Pearl is another reminder to Hester of her sin. But, rather that this be negative, again Hester uses her a motivation.
“In truth she seemed absolutely hidden behind it.” pg 85 This showed how Hester felt somewhat ashamed from her Scarlet letter but, she didn’t show it as much. She (as the quote say) hides behind it.
Chapter 8: “Pearl keeps me here in life, Pearl punishes me too,” pg 90 This shows one of the themes of the book as well, motherhood/ a mother’s love. Pearl in her self was a challenge. But her mom loved her so much. There fore she was both a push and hardship in Hester’s life.
Chapter 9: “I need no medicine” pg 97 This kind of showed me a small theme of independence. Many people didn’t like to rely on others
Chapter 10: “…keep him in remembrance. They grew out of his heart, and typify, it may be, some hideous secret that was buried with him, and which he had done better to confess during his lifetime.” pg 104 This quotes again goes back to the theme of judgement or labeling people. It also shows again how they believed in confession. And if people don’t confess it can lay a burden of the person’s heart.
“‘None- save the freedom of a broken law’…as if he had been discussing the point with himself.” pg 106 This shows how it was so hard for them to step out of what society thinks and think for themselves.
Chapter 11: “The very ground on which he trod was sanctified,” pg 113 This shows how society’s opinion on someone can have such an impact on them. and how social classes and levels were integrated and implemented.
Chapter 12: “It’s done…the whole town will hurry forth and find me here!” pg 118 This shows how confessions played a crucial role in the role of the characters in this time period. Like in the Crucible. It provided a sense of relief for the oppressor, but it still shows how hard it was for them to throw away their sense of pride and admit to a mistake.
“At the great judgement day,” pg 121 This shows how they believed they were going to be judged in an after life for their actions. And again brings up the confession theme.
Chapter 13: “Her breast, with its badge of shame, was but the softer pillow for the head of the needed one,” pg 126 This shows how Hester still had a bad reputation but it was beginning to be added onto with a bit of a positive tone.
Chapter 14: “But the former aspect of an intellectual and studious man, calm and quiet, which was what she best remembered in him, had altogether vanished, and been succeeded by an eager, searching, almost fierce, yet carefully guarded look.” pg 132 This portrays a theme in the book that I’ve found a bit apparent lately: People change. A certain perception one may have of someone can easily be changed if they change something happened. But the catch to this a good reputation can be easily changed to bad. But it is a lot more difficult for a bad reputation to be changed to good, as in Hester’s case
Chapter 14: “a mortal man, with once a human heart, has become a fiend for his especial torment!” pg 134 Sort of the same concept as the description above, people can change. But the main one being that an action can very much impact the personality/character of a person.
Chapter 15: “A letter,- the letter A,-but freshly green, instead of scarlet! pg 139 This symbolizes how Pearl sees the scarlet letter in a different light then everyone else. Green represents good. She sees in a positive tone rather than a punishment.
Chapter 16: “The sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom…let me run and catch it…for I wear nothing on my bosom yet!” pg 144 This quotes another theme how Pearl is Hester’s guide through life. The fact that she said she’ll catch it for her mother shows how Pearl is what gets her mother through life. The fact that the sun didn’t touch her, it shows how the A pushes away the people, and how society looked down on her.
“Will it not come on of its own accord, when I am a woman grown?” pg 144 This shows the theme of how Pearl thinks life is. It symbolizes how we think now. She thinks that everyone makes mistakes, and that she’s bound to sin when she becomes an adult, like her mother.
Chapter 17: “Happy are you Hester that wear the scarlet letter openly upon your bosom! Mine burns in secret!” pg 151 This shows how the minister felt about the sin he committed. He wants to tell ,but can’t find the courage to do so. He thinks Hester is lucky and is envious that she can be open.
“We are not, Hester, the worst sinners in the world. There is one worse than even the polluted priest! That old man;s revenge has been blacker than my sin. He has so violated, in cold blood, the sanity of a human heart. Thou and I Hester never did so!” pg 153 This shows how Dimensdale is trying to find an excuse for himself to cover his sin. And while searching for one he finally realized that maybe their sin isn’t the worst of all. He has found peace at this moment.
Chapter 18: “But this had been a sin of passion, nor even principle, nor even purpose.” pg 158 This quote explains how Hester and the minister set themselves free basically. They realized that maybe what they’d done is not that huge of a sin, since it was committed with love, and not revenge or purpose, like Chilingworth.
“It was the exhilarating effect-upon a prisoner just escaped from the dungeon of his own heart-of breathing the wild, free atmosphere of an unredeemed, unchristianised, lawless religion.” pg 159 This quote shows a very important concept now being portrayed in this book. It shows how their religion had become a burden somewhat on them. And they felt free once they managed to break its laws.
Chapter 19: “Do thou know thy mother now, child?” pg 167 This moment shows how Pearl knows her mother. As her own sin. And once her mother felt free, Pearl couldn’t recognize who she was. Symbolizing the fact that Pearl holds her mother down.
Chapter 20: “-now that the intrusive third person was gone,- and taking her old place by her mother’s side.” pg 169 This shows how Pearl wanted her mother to her self. It kind of symbolizes selfishness with in us all. As mentioned above, she was a small burden on her mother that held her down. After the minister left, Hester was sad, but Pearl felt back in place.
Chapter 16: “…a grief that should deeply touch her, and thus humanize and make her capable of sympathy.” pg 145 This quote shows how Hester wants to have a normal life somewhat. And wants to feel what some people feel as well.

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