The Scarlet Letter and Hester

5407 Words Nov 12th, 2012 22 Pages
A CHAPTER-BY-CHAPTER READING GUIDE FOR THE SCARLET LETTER

A 1636 Plymouth Colony law required anyone convicted of adultery to "wear two Capital letters viz AD cut out in cloth and sowed on theire uppermost Garments on their arme or backe; and if att any time they shallbee taken without the said letters whiles they are in the Govrment soewarn to bee forthwith taken and publickly whipt."[1] Other Massachusetts colonies had their own versions of this law. In fact, "The Capitall Lawes of New-England, as they stand now in force in the Common-wealth, by the Court, in the years 1641, 1642, established within the jurisdiction of Massachusetts," proclaim that "if any person committeth adultery with a married or espoused wife, the
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Why does he want her to live?

4. Upon whom does Chillingworth put the blame for Hester's sin? How much is her fault? How much is his own?

5. How much revenge does Chillingworth plan to get on Hester? (A particular line in their conversation tells us exactly.) Who is the real object of Chillingworth's revenge?

6. The paragraph beginning "Never, sayest thou?" if read well, can reveal exactly what kind of person Chillingworth is. Read it with a touch of villainy in thy voice and thou must needs quake with fearfulness at the plan this mis-shapen scholar. (Do you see how easy it is to get carried away?)

7. Hester says something interesting about how a person's words may lead to one interpretation of his character and his actions may lead to another. How do Chillingworth's words present him? His actions?

8. What request does Chillingworth make of Hester? What is his reason?

Chapter 5—Hester at Her Needle

How does Hester feel upon leaving prison? What does the future have in store for her?

You might wonder why Hester doesn't leave Boston, since it is only in Boston that she must wear the scarlet letter. What are her reasons? Be sure not to overlook the most important of them.

What features of Hester's home seem most appropriate?

How does Hester make a living? In what ironic way does she advertise her skills?

5. Who were the only ones who made no use of Hester's services? Why?

6. What does Hester do with the extra
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