Presentation on theme: "Ch.16 – A Forest Walk H wants to tell D in the wilderness. (Remember what the wilderness represents?) “Hester never thought of meeting him in any narrower."— Presentation transcript:
Ch.16 – A Forest Walk H wants to tell D in the wilderness. (Remember what the wilderness represents?) “Hester never thought of meeting him in any narrower privacy than beneath the open sky. (p.179/p.190) The road into the woods: passage between the two extremes represented by the wilderness and civilization. Sunshine and Shadow: sunlight avoids H and lights on P. (Light typically symbolizes truth.) H is avoiding or will not find the truth in the following chapters.
Ch.16 – A Forest Walk H tells the story of the Black Man: “Once in my life I met the Black Man! This scarlet letter is his mark!” (p.182/p.193-4) Pearl and the brook: the brook is personified and compared to Pearl. “The streamlet kept up a babble, kind, quiet, soothing, but melancholy, like the voice of a young child that was spending its infancy without playfulness, and knew not how to be merry among sad acquaintance and events of somber hue.” (p.183/p.194) D compared to devil: D approaches in the forest and P thinks it is the Black Man. P asks if his hand over his heart is a mark placed by the Black Man and wonders “why does he not wear it outside his bosom” like her mother. (p.184/p.195)
Ch.17 – The Pastor and His Parishioner First intimate setting between H and D. They touch hands and she calls him by his first name. H tells D about RC. D says that RC’s vengefulness is far worse than any adultery. “That old man’s revenge has been blacker than my sin. He has violated, in cold blood, the sanctity of a human heart.” (p.191/p.203) H explains that D should leave Boston, go across the sea to Europe. When he says he is too weak, she responds, “Thou shalt not go alone!” (p.195/p.207)
Ch.18 – A Flood of Sunshine H has been able to think for herself for the past seven years because of the scarlet letter. “The scarlet letter was her 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…” (p.196/p.209) This is why he listens to her and agrees to flee. In the wilderness, D and H are in a “free atmosphere of an unredeemed, unchristianized, lawless region.” (p.198/p.210) Sunshine seems to return to them at this point.
Ch.18 – A Flood of Sunshine H removes the letter. “With this symbol, I undo it all, and make it as it had never been.” (p.198/p.211) Will this really work out? Narrator attaches the sin, shame and guilt to the letter itself, not to Hester. Removal of the letter brings back all of her physical beauty: “A crimson flush was glowing on her cheek…her sex, her youth, and the whole richness of her beauty came back.” (p.199/p.212) Description of Pearl as wild and natural – uncontaminated by society.
Ch.19 – The Child at the Brook-side Pearl doesn’t recognize the new, happier version of her mother. She throws a tantrum until H replaces the letter. At this point, H’s beauty immediately dissolves “like fading sunshine” and “the gray shadow seemed to fall across her.” (p.207/p.221) The reader is made to think that Pearl is wrong in this behavior, but the reader knows Pearl possesses a special insight. Pearl asks D to publicly (in town) acknowledge his relationship to her and he refuses.
Ch.19 – The Child at the Brook-side Is fleeing to Europe a successful attempt to follow a higher truth, a newer, better moral code? New ways to defy the same old social rules. The Puritans fled Europe out of a desire to live in a place where they would not need to hide their religious affiliations out of fear. Within the novel, the Puritans seem to be recreating the old order in the New World, just as H and D are looking to do. (More on this in ch. 20.)