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The Scarlet Letter Ch. 11-12 By Lauren Bell & Cullen Gray.

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1 The Scarlet Letter Ch. 11-12 By Lauren Bell & Cullen Gray

2 Get out your phones! Tweet a scenario in which something or someone turned out to be something far different from what it appeared to be. Hashtag: #Scarletletter11

3 Summary of Ch. 11 Expressing his dislike for Dimmesdale, Chillingworth torments Dimmesdale by using his knowledge of what irks him. This constant torment is making Dimmesdale begin to loathe his caretaker, even though he can’t quite put his finger on why. Feeling somewhat “inspired” by this, he delivers quite powerful sermons. They all deal with sin and the repentance of them, perhaps his way of coping with his scandalous secret. He really wants to confess, but just can’t bring himself to do so. He begins torturing himself by fasting and going on extended vigils, where he stays up all night meditating. He starts to have visions because of his delusional state. In one of these visions, he views Hester and Pearl together. Hester points at her scarlet letter, and then motions to Dimmesdale’s chest, essentially telling Pearl who her father is. This upsets Dimmesdale, and even though he realizes it is just a dream, he is tortured by his own subconscious even further.

4 Summary of Ch. 12 Still trying to find a way to make himself feel better without actually confessing his secret, he goes atop the scaffold that Hester was punished upon. Doing so, he gets a massive pain in his chest. He screams, as if someone wants him to confess his pain to the town. Thankfully for him, the townsfolk take it for a witch’s screech. He begins another vision in delirium, where he sees some of the old ministers of the town. He begins to fantasize about what would happen if he was actually caught. Dimmesdale invites Hester and Pearl up to the scaffold, whose presence he had not previously noticed. The three hold hands, and Dimmesdale actually feels good for once. Pearl asks, “Wilt thou stand here with Mother and me, tomorrow at noontide?” He responds with a no, to Pearl’s dismay. A bright red meteor strikes across the sky, and Dimmesdale perceives it as an “A.” Pearl points to Chillingworth’s omniscient figure, and Dimmesdale asks Hester who his true identity is. She, of course, refuses to answer, and Pearl begins to whisper who he is in Dimmesdale’s ear. But, it is just gibberish. After asking why, Pearl says it was his punishment for not agreeing to stand up on the scaffold the next day. He suddenly gets out of his vision, and Chillingworth helps him down from the podium, exclaiming about how he must have slept walked up there. The next day, Dimmesdale preaches his most powerful sermon to date. He didn’t know what was coming out of his mouth in the heat of the moment, it just “happened.” After the powerful sermon, one of his gloves was found on the scaffold, but before he can worry, the sexton blames the occurrence on the devil, trying to frame him. This makes him feel worse about himself because he cannot tell the truth about why he was actually up there.

5 Discussion Discuss with your group about Dimmesdale’s delirious aberrations. Do you think that this was a coping mechanism to tell the truth? Or do you think that an “outside force” was trying to scare him into doing the right thing, à la A Christmas Story? Obviously he wasn’t completely there in his head, but he was still able to give immensely impressive sermons, why do you think that is?

6 ➢ Odious: Deserving hatred ➢ Etherealized: To make delicate ➢ Scourge: a whip or lash; for punishment ➢ Attestation: to confirm ➢ Apostolic: relating to the twelve chief disciples of Jesus Christ ➢ Abhorrence: Disgusting hatred ➢ Blighted: To impair the quality of ➢ Scintillating: Brilliantly lively ➢ Sedulous: Very busy ➢ Loquacious: Very talkative ➢ Satiate: To satisfy a desire in excess ➢ Precocious: A child developing abilities at an earlier age than usual ➢ Despotic: Resembling a tyrannical leader. Vocabulary

7 Dimmesdale Delusional because of his secret Respected around the town because of his position, which makes people on his side Was Hester’s lover Hates Chillingworth because he is tormenting him. Chillingworth Is tormenting Dimmesdale Hester’s (ex?) husband Is becoming more and more satanic-like, perhaps because of his tormenting of Dimmesdale Acts as Dimmesdale’s friend, but in reality, is trying to get his revenge on him. Character Analysis

8 Hester Strong, independent. Accepts her sin, even if she doesn’t feel that her punishment was necessary. Is becoming “less” of a person. Her punishment is draining her, and while it has made her more resilient, she has become less passionate. Pearl She already knows a lot for her age, and presumably, knows her real dad. Is somewhat sheltered, and loves her mom, because everyone else is abusive towards her. Doesn’t conform to Puritan ideas, because she is intelligent. Character Anal ysis

9 Themes Definitions of sin: The experience of Hester and Dimmesdale references the story of Adam and Eve because, in both cases, sin results in expulsion and suffering. But it also results in knowledge, specifically, in knowledge of what it means to be human. Therefore, sin is described in a new way. The different interpretations of sin throughout the chapter show a theme ongoing throughout the novel. Society, conformity and individuality: Hester is determined to discover her own identity rather than to allow others to determine it for her. She feels as if, running away or removing the letter would be an acknowledgment of society’s power over her: she would be admitting that the letter is a mark of shame and something from which she desires to escape. Later on in the chapter when the “meaning” of the letter changes this symbolizes the change Hester has made as a character. Day vs. Night: There are certain actions that would be considered socially acceptable in the community. These actions in the novel would typically occur during the day. In contrast, there are those of which must take place in secret. Daylight represents the exposure of an individual’s activities and makes him or her vulnerable to punishment. Night, on the other hand, conceals and allows certain activities that would not be possible or tolerated during the day time. Nighttime is once again hidden from public view, and secrets remain secrets.

10 Symbols The Scarlet Letter: The letter’s meaning shifts as time passes. Originally intended to mark Hester as an adulterer, the “A” eventually comes to stand for “Able.” This is symbolic because it is a turning point in how the society views Hester. While dimmesdale stands on the scaffold with Hester and Pearl, a meteor traces out an “A” in the night sky. Dimmesdale interprets this as a mark of shame. Implying that he should be recognized for his sin like Hester. However The meteor is interpreted differently by the rest of the community. They are under the impression that it stands for “Angel” and marks Governor Winthrop’s entry into heaven. When Pearl Covers the scarlet letter with burrs, this is a clear depiction of the feelings Hester might have felt while living with the letter. Chillingsworth represents science while, Dimmesdale represents spirituality. Dimmesdale’s illness is an outward manifestation of an inward condition.

11 Narrative Voice The narrator definitely feels sorry for Dimmesdale. He seems sympathetic towards both Hester and Dimmesdale. This is shown in chapter 12, on page 153; “Poor, miserable man! what right had infirmity like his to burden itself with crime?” Even such, the narrator feels it necessary for Dimmesdale to go through with this torment. He did commit a sin, and it is still wrong in his eyes.

12 Puritan Ideas The Puritans commonly looked to symbols to confirm divine sentiments. In this particular chapter, however, symbols are taken to mean what the beholder wants them to mean. This is significant with not only the meteor but with the A as well. Each person has a different interpretation of what the signs symbolize.

13 Irony The scaffold scene is very ironic because it depicts the differences between Hester and Dimmesdale's situations. As they stand on the scaffold Hester is reminded of her public torment while Dimmesdale experiences inner anguish. Pearl makes a statement which creates a causal connection between dimmesdale's denial of his own guilt and his incomplete understanding of the world around him. This emphasizes that as long as he hides the truth about himself, he can never grasp an understanding of the world around him.

14 Imagery Hawthorne wants to paint a picture with his “interesting” diction. All of his cleverly picked words accomplish this. “And thus, while standing on the scaffold, in this vain show of expiation, Mr. Dimmesdale was overcome with a great horror of mind, as if the universe were gazing at a scarlet token on his naked breast, right over his heart. On that spot, in a very truth, there was, and there had long been, the gnowing and poisonous tooth of bodily pain.” (Hawthorne 153.) While incredibly long-winded and superfluous, you definitely get a picture of a broken man just wanting to be free of his sin.

15 Chapter 11: The Interior of a Heart Dimmesdale throughout the chapter endures awful heart pains. This is symbolic of the guilt he is holding inside for allowing Hester to endure a punishment for a crime in which he contributed to. When you receive your heart shaped cookie, use icing to depict a scene in which you felt guilty for your actions.


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