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The Scarlet Letter Chapters 11 and 12.

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1 The Scarlet Letter Chapters 11 and 12

2 Summary of Chapters Dimmesdale is being tortured by his sin. Chillingworth is toying with him and every one of his church members worships him. They can’t understand why Dimmesdale speaks so lowly of himself. Dimmesdale is going crazy because he is keeping this secret. One night, Dimmesdale went up to the scaffold and held hands with Pearl and Hester. Chillingworth was out because he had been tending to Winthrop who had just died. It was very dark so nobody except for Chillingworth witnessed this event. While the three were still up on the scaffold, the letter “A” appeared in the sky and many of the townspeople interpreted it as Angel for Winthrop. The next day, the other pastor brought Dimmesdale his black glove and said he found it on the scaffold. Instead of asking how it got up there, the sexton simply said that Satan must have put it there.

3 Themes Duplicity- living a lie is weakening Dimmesdale’s body. This internal struggle affected so much that he does not act on his suspicions about Chillingworth. He wanted the public to know his sin but was afraid. The people’s approval of him only added to his torture. “It is inconceivable, the agony with which this public veneration [praise] tortured him.” All humans have the same need - As Dimmesdale struggles with his own sin, he was made more “human” meaning he was able to connect with people better. “He won it, indeed, in great part, by his sorrows.”

4 Romantic Ideas Very emotional – laughs and screams of Dimmesdale
Love – The three holding hands Believe in individualism – Dimmesdale’s refusal to admit nature of his sin publicly Subjective perception – “A” in sky: angel or adulterer Introspective – Dimmesdale’s soul searching Satisfaction of desire – desire to confess drove Dimmesdale to scaffold Supernatural energy and power – “electric chain”

5 Puritan Ideas Follows the Bible exactly – Father Wilson
Conservative and strong moral character – Dimmesdale Nature is evil – Hibbins, twigs of forest clinging to her skirt Also, Chillingworth heals with nature Interprets signs from Heaven – Comet with letter A was presumed to be a message from God. Shows little emotion – In chapter 11, the fathers of the church could not reach the people on an emotional level.

6 Character Analysis The most significant character developments in chapters 11 and 12 are in Dimmesdale and his illegitimate daughter, Pearl. We will take a closer look at the climactic internal battle that Dimmesdale undergoes and the further development of Pearl’s free-spirited nature.

7 Character Analysis: Dimmesdale
Dimmesdale’s hallucinations and self injury (hitting himself with a scourge or starving himself) increase because Chillingworth is now torturing him for revenge. He desperately wants to confess but is too cowardly to be anything but vague. He believes that the comet proclaims God’s judgment of him as an adulterer but the townspeople misinterpret it.

8 Character Analysis: Pearl
In these chapters, the reader is assured that Pearl knows that Dimmesdale is her father. She asked him twice to acknowledge her publicly though he refuses. She vengefully taunts him with the knowledge of Chillingworth’s true identity. This shows that she knows she deserves to be acknowledged.

9 Literary Device: Irony
Dimmesdale doesn’t know that Chillingworth is Hester’s husband. Even though Dimmesdale doesn’t know Chillingworth’s secret, Dimmesdale is already beginning to hate Chillingworth because Chilligsworth was constantly intensifying Dimmesdale’s pain through his evil machination.

10 Literary Device: Narrative Voice
“Yes it seems to be my glove indeed.” In this example, Dimmesdale has just been given the glove that was found on the scaffold. He admits to the minister that it’s his glove, which could be a confession that he was there but, he doesn’t come out and say that he left it there, not Satan. By using narrative voice here, Hawethorne causes the reader to question Dimmesdale’s Ideals.

11 Literary Devices: Symbolism and Color
Forest = natural chaos of sin Mistress Hibbins interred the scene with twigs from the forest on the hem of her skirt This is the opposite of the order and control that Puritans valued. Light = reason Pages “…now, in short, good Father Wilson was moving homeward, aiding his footsteps with a lighted lantern!” Black gloves = evil -The minister said that Satan left the glove on the scaffold.

12 Literary Device: Allusion
Allusion is when the author refers to a well-known work but doesn’t show the connection. When Dimmesdale twice denies Pearls request to admit his sin (such a confession could lead to his salvation), this could allude to the Bible where Peter twice denies Christ (Christ is Peter’s salvation). “…I, in whose daily life you discern the sanctify of Enoch…” The Enoch walked with God in Genesis 5: This allusion implies that the people think that Dimmesdale is as Holy as Enoch.

13 Quiz Why doesn’t Dimmesdale act upon his suspicions of Chillingworth?
In what ways did Dimmesdale hurt himself? Why do you think Dimmesdale tortured himself? Without knowing the truth about Chillingworth, why does Dimmesdale begin to hate him? What did the “A” that was marked in the sky by the meteor represent to the townspeople? To Dimmesdale?

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