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The Scarlet Letter A-Z
Transcript of The Scarlet Letter A-Z
- The letter A stands for the scarlet letter:
Because in the book , it is an A. This letter takes on many meanings throughout the novel, defines Hester's character, and is an early symbol in Pearl's life. The first meaning associated with the letter is adultery, the sin committed by Hester and Dimmsdale, this sin is the reason Hester receives the scarlet letter. This leads to Hester's shunning from society. The second meaning associated with the letter is "able". This is given a few years after the adultery incident and after new people have arrived and old ones forgotten about why Hester has the letter. Able is given to the letter because Hester helps the poor by sewing and helping doing chores. She exhibits great kindness.
- B is for Blame:
Blame which neither Dimmesdale nor Hester seem to feel towards each other. This shows an amazing strength of character on both their parts, but especially Hester’s. She doesn’t blame him for refraining from standing on the pedestal of shame with her and she recognizes that they both share in the sin and guilt.
- C is for Chillingsworth:
Chillingworth comes to Boston after sending Hester over 2 years earlier. He sees Hester standing on the scaffold and discovers her crime. He changed his name to Chillingworth so that he could look for clues on who comitted this crime along with his wife. (his sin is actually darker than that of the one Dimmesdale and Hester comitted) Chillingworth is to help get Dimmesdale back to health and he later finds out that he is the father of Pearl.
- D is for disfunctional:
The very nature of this situation is weird. The people in this book all have secrets that they think are not known by anyone else, so they try to hide it. Chillingworth knows that Dimmesdale is the father but he doesn’t tell on him. Chillingworth is Hester’s husband, but he won’t let anyone know this. Instead he uses this information for his own use. Dimmesdale slept with Hester but he won’t tell anyone and he inflicts emotional and physical pain upon himself. After all this, he still doesn’t think that he’s forgiven and he’s the Minister..
- E is for Eggshell:
Hester does not want to attract attention to herself while she walks through the marketplace, and so therefore she acts as if she is walking on eggshells. Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth also act like they are walking on eggshells because they both have massive secrets to hide and have to be careful not to reveal the secrets to society or else there will be major consequences.
- F is for Fear:
All the puritans are fearful of sin. Hester is fearful of the nature of pearl. Dimmesdale is afraid of being shunned by his community, due to his sin. He wants to be able to do good, but he is scared the great sin he committed will hold him back. Fear is a common emotion among the characters in The Scarlet Letter. Many characters are portrayed as black, and disfigured, which symbolizes sin, which in turn develops into fear.
- G is for Guilt:
Hester is found guilty of adultery at the beginning of the novel and she feels the shame of this guilt everyday by having to wear the scarlet letter. Roger Chillingworth is also guilty of the worst sin in the novel. He makes Dimmesdale suffer the worst possible pain. Dimmesdale is guilty in being the partner is Hester's crime of adultery. He is the minister and he falls into sin by doing this. Each day he feels his guilt burning in his chest and he becomes sickly because of this.
- H is for Hell
The fear that comes from as a result of Hell is what drives the crazy things they do in the novel. The Puritans are all so scared of Hell, and what could possibly lead them there, they unintentionally do sinful things to stay out of it-such as embarrassing Hester and not forgiving her, making her fight for her child, and making her stand all by herself on the scaffolds against the town. The whole town is built on a foundation of fear from Satan and Hell.
- I is for Ignominious:
This word means shameful or disgraceful. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester can be described as ignominious because to the town she has committed the most evil sin.
- J is fot Justice:
Justice is consistently given, but is rarely brought to the one’s who deserve it. Hester has to suffer while Dimmsdale is free to go as he pleases. Hester is strictly punished for betraying her marriage even though Chillingworth agrees that their marriage was never founded on love.
- K is for Kindness:
Throughout most of the novel everyone was so mean to Hester yet she was still kind to the poor and needy.
- L is for Light:
Hester, Dimmsdale, and Chillingworth are always in the dark which symbolizes their sin. Towards the end of the book Hester begins to appear in the light which shows that she is being forgiven for her sin.
- M is for Minister:
One of the main characters, Dimmsdale, is a minister. Back in the 1600's, the ministers of a community had a high social standing and basically helped to run the community, along with the governors. Since Dimmsdale was looked up to so much in his community as a speaker for God and all things good, for him to confess his sin with Hester was unimaginable. Confessing would have forced many Puritans to question their faith and question God.
- N is for Needlework:
Needlework is the way Hester makes her living. Her skill in needlework is how she made such a beautiful letter A, that caused some townspeople to think that the punishment was not sufficient. Her needl ework, how decorative it is, is also extremely against Puritan beliefs. They wore drab, boring gray clothes. Her main customers were those of higher standing; i.e. governors with balls to attend etc. She uses her skill in needlework to make the fancy dresses Pearl wears
- O is for Ostracize:
Ostracize- the word means to be excluded from a group. Hester, after she committed her sin, was definately ostracized from the rest of the Puritan community.
- P is for Pearl:
Pearl is the embodiment of the scarlet letter. She represents Hester's sin and acts a reminder to herself and everyone of what Hester has done. Though the scarlet letter may be removed, Pearl cannot be. When Pearl claims to have been plucked from the rose bush and not created by God she symbolizes descent and her mother's stray from Puritan belief.
- Q is for questionable beliefs.
The puritans had many religious beliefs that would seem somewhat eccentric in recent times. Hester was punished severely for something that is very common today, and carries no legal consequences (adultry). Along with this, Hester's "partner in crime" was a leader, a reverend, supposedly a man of god. It seems as though some would be "spiritually stumbled" and question the merit and honor of their bliefs and fellow believers.
- By Chaz Linder -
- R is for Roger:
Roger is an amazingly significant person because he is the man who wants revenge against Arthur Dimmesdale. Roger is the intelligent man gone evil. He was once a smart, intellectual person but turned vengeful and cruel when he found out who the partner of Hester was. Even his name describes his character- Chillingworth. He is the evil force against Hester and Arthur. As Dimmesdale and Hester agree, Chillingworth has committed the real sin. He hurts the human heart out of hatred, not love. He tortures Dimmesdale with his secret aura and does all he can to finish his deed of evil.
- T is for Torture:
One of them being because it is repeated throughout the whole book. For instance, when Hester is on the scafold with pearl as a child and then when Roger Chillingworth is torturing Dimmesdale. This may only be two instances but Chillingworth slowly tortures dimmesdale throughout several chapters bringing out his fiendish character. This is mainly why torture is significant because it brings out the otherwise bad and inhumane side of people that we would not normally see
- U is for Unclean:
In the eyes of the puritans, Hester is unclean. She committed one of the worst sins and will never by forgiven by these people. They will not even let her embroider a wedding veil because it symbolizes purity, and purity is something that Hester doesn't have.
- V is for Vengance:
Chillingworth of course wants to have revenge on the person that was Hester’s partner of sin. His vengeance has been inflicted upon Arthur Dimmesdale. As the minister of the town, he is the most unlikely suspect, but with Chillingworth’s knowledge and intellect he is drawn to this man. In the end, his assumptions are right and Dimmesdale is the father of Pearl. But, throughout the past seven years, he has convinced Dimmesdale that a man should not die with sin in their hearts and should be truthful and confess their wrong-doings. Knowing this, Dimmesdale slowly begins to die, mentally and physically, from the guilt he feels for his sins.
- W is for Water:
Pearl is constantly assosciated with water. She sees her reflection in the pool, and again in the brook. She is also compared to the brook. They both have this gushing life force which comes from a mysterious “well spring”.
- X is for Xenophobic:
Xenophobic which is the fear of foreigners, yet it can be used for the fear of anything foreign. This describes the townspeople fear for the foreign mentality for Hester’s attitude of her letter at the beginning of the book. Instead of shame Hester has nothing but a sense of pride almost. Very perplexing. (This one was really hard to do)
- Y is for Yearning:
Hester is yearning for social acceptance as well as for the love of Dimmesdale.
- Z is for...welI don't really know!!!!
So who had it worse? Dimmesdale or Hester.
- I think that Dimmesle had it worse than Hester. Even thouhg Hester had to go through all that public humiliation, Dimmesdale had to suffer and hold all that grief inside and keep it to himself. Dimmesdale literally died from physical and mental pain caused by what he did with Hester. I know personally that trying to hold it inside is much worse than having to face it publicly.