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    Scarlet Letter Chapter Commentary Practice Essay

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    The wistful and paranoid tones in Chapter 22 of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter reflects Hester Prynne’s optimism in the success of her escape to the Old World, but in turn her constant fear of all the effort being undone by outside forces. Hester is hopeful that Minister Dimmesdale and she, along with their daughter Pearl, will be able to make a new life for themselves in England, because of their previous encounter in the woods the other day. Her confidence in the preparation is waning due to the interference of Roger Chillingsworth, her husband, and a conversation with Mistress Hibbins on Election Day.

    The author’s diction enlightens the reader to the elaborate disintegration of Hester’s positive outlook on the upcoming journey to break away from the unchanging Puritan systematical way of life. “At the final hour” of Hester’s residence in New England, she, in conjunction with Pearl, has a feeling of “dread [,] inspired” by the “remoteness and intangibility” that Reverend Dimmesdale exhibits while in the procession.

    Soon the reunited family is to board a ship, setting sail to a fresh start at life as a whole unit. When the holy reverend appears, Hester and Pearl are moved to a state of unease at his isolated and otherworldly appearance. In Pearl’s account of her interaction with the “swarthy-cheeked wild [man] of the ocean,” Hester is convinced that a “tempestuous tide” has arrived to rob her of the chance at experiencing a “shimmer of sunshine.” Pearl returns to her mother after running off, relaying a message from the shipmaster. The underlining implications of the message, assures her that an uncontrollable road block will prevent her opportunity at happiness.

    The author’s detail illuminates Hester’s transfixion on the expression that her lover Dimmesdale demonstrates while in the Election Day parade. Hester Prynne “[gazed] steadfastly” from her position “at the foot of the scaffold” as the minister “moved onward, and with an unaccustomed force” in the procession. From the area in which she was punished for her sin, Hester looks upon the reverend with full undivided attention.

    Thus, noticing the zombie-like manner that he takes on as he continues on in the march. She tries to gain a “glance of recognition” from the man “moving proudly past” her station, but fails to see a resemblance between him and the man who she had “[sat] hand in hand” with in the forest. Just a while ago this man of great importance accompanied her in the wood and shared a romantic moment. Nonetheless, he is presently walking with a head held high past her, and makes no movement to provide a signal of acknowledgement in regards to their relationship. In the short time that this event occurs, Hester is slowly becoming persuaded by her own interpretation of Dimmesdale’s mood, that the moment shared in the woods must have been an illusion.

    The third-person omniscient point of view projects the spectator’s curiosity that afternoon and aids in the buildup to the climax of the novel. In the beginning of the chapter, the “advance of the procession of magistrates and citizens” has began, during which “each individual member” of the e spectators observes the young minister proceeding with “strength [seeming] not of the body.” The reader is pulled into the grand festivities by the grandeur that the march is described as. All of the townspeople, including Hester and her child, are curious as to the sudden transformation of the successful reverend.

    The man has pep in his step and has no hand clutched to his heart. Pearl’s message from “the seafaring [man],” an encounter with Mistress Hibbins that was “arrayed in great magnificence” and the sudden interest in the “brilliantly embroidered badge” is a warning of things to come. The systematic collapse of Hester’s idea of running away into the sunset with lover and child in tow is explained in the interference of Chillingsworth and interaction with Mistress Hibbins. The reader is to take the turn of interest in the festivities to Mrs. Prynne’s breast as an implication that she is not to be liberated from the scarlet abomination, contrary to her earlier aspirations. The third-person omniscient view provides the reader with a good basis of understanding of the conditions that will lead to the climax and conclusion of the story.

    The organization moves from excitement to energy and finally to resignation in this piece. In the beginning, the whole focus is mainly on the congregation of people to observe the special parade. The heightened jovial atmosphere contrasts with the inner turmoil of the main characters present. The author uses this claustrophobic inducing atmosphere to push the characters into further internalizing their thoughts, with the exception of Pearl, for the sake of public reception. In the middle, Pearl and Minister Dimmesdale exert some power over Hester. The little imp, Pearl, escapes her mother in a fit of uncontrollable freewill, meanwhile the priest, through his way with words, grounds Hester to her listening post, unaware in the slightest of her disappearance. T

    he author emphasizes the dominance that Hester Prynne’s closes loved ones had over her own will in preparation for the chapter’s finish. In the end, Hester yields to Chillingsworth’s plan to upset the journey to England and the curious gaze of townspeople and traveler alike on her brand of shame. She resentfully acknowledges the implications that her husband’s presence would have on the trip and therefore has finally succumbed to the thought of the letter staying forever. The author includes Hester’s calculations as a rebuffing of any of the reader’s thoughts that this story would be completed with a happy ending. As the chapter closes, the main concern is the scarlet letter and the effect that its revelation later would have on everyone involved.

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    Scarlet Letter Chapter Commentary Practice Essay. (2017, Nov 30). Retrieved from

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