The Scarlet Letter: Chapters 3 & 4 - Midland High School
THE SCARLET LET TER: CHAPTERS 3 & 4 Strenuously forged by the hands of Bailey Estes and Forrest Ream ACTIVITY I. Pick a crime, any crime, anything you could get in trouble for II. Think of a way to punish someone for doing said
crime I. The punishment cannot physically harm anyone II. The punishment should be designed to publically embarrass the criminal III. The punishment should be somehow related to the crime itself III. Whoever comes up with the cleverest idea wins CHAPTER 3 SUMMARY Hester Prynne and her child have been put forth on display on a platform in the marketplace as part of her punishment. On the edge of the crowd
Hester spots an Indian man accompanying a hunched, white man who asks members of the crowd about Hesters situation, including her name and why she is on display. According to the townsperson, Hester has so far refused to reveal the name of her fellow adulterer. Hester seems to recognize the man, but is pulled out of her reverie to be questioned by Governor Bellingham, the clergyman John Wilson, and Hesters priest Reverend Dimmesdale about the identity of her lover. She again refuses to divulge the information, then is sent back into the prison for the remainder of her sentence. CHAPTER 4 SUMMARY After returning to her cell, Hester is in a state of nervous excitement. in order to keep her from harming herself or her
child, a doctor is brought to her cell. The doctor is revealed to be Roger Chillingworth, the hunched man from the crowd. He gives the baby a sleeping draught, then sits and talks to Mrs. Prynne. Through their conversation, Chillingworth reveals himself to be Hesters estranged husband. He also vows to find the childs father, but not to reveal himself or take revenge on the man. THEMES Acceptance: While Hester and Chillingworth can accept her actions, the rest of the town has vilified them, making her the talk of the town. Justice: Everyone is this book is seeking justice for something. The townspeople are seeking justice for a perceived wrong (Hester committing
adultery), which comes in the form of the scarlet letter. Chillingworth seeks justice for Hester's wrong against him, her husband, by searching for the identity of her lover (although he also wronged her by leaving for several years). Guilt: Both Hester and Chillingworth feel a certain amount of guilt for their actions, Hester for her adultery and Roger for leaving her on her own for years ROMANTICISM V S. P U R I TA N I S M In these chapters, the Romantic and Puritan ideas are often at odds, because Romantic ideas were exactly what the Puritans were trying to avoid.
Hester seeks the Romantic ideas of individuality and self-realization by becoming her own person, not simply her husbands wife. The Puritan views of a subservient wife, however, forced her to wear the scarlet letter because of her actions. C H A R A C T E R A N A LY S I S : H E S T E R P RY N N E In these chapters we see Hesters fear, as well as her perseverence and bravery. When Hester first sees her husband she is terrified of what he will do to her. As she talks to him, however, she becomes very strong, defending her actions. This same
strength we see earlier when Hester is questioned by the elites of the town; she defends the name of her accomplice with complete conviction. These chapters show that she understands her actions, and that her single regret is that her child be raised under the stigma of the scarlet letter. C H A R A C T E R A N A LY S I S : ROGER CHILLINGWORTH The character of Roger Chillingworth is introduced in chapter three as a man at the edge of the crowd that simply knows Hester, and is recognized by her. In the next chapter, however, when he goes to speak to her, he is revealed to be a physician of some
talent, as well as Mrs. Prynnes estranged husband. He is shown to have compassion for Hester, despite what she did, and wants to find her lover for some unknown purpose; he does not wish to cause bodily harm or announce the man to the world, only to know who he is. LITERARY DEVICES Irony: During Hesters punishment on the scaffolding, she reacts to the sight of Roger Chillingworth on the edge of the crowd. The reader is informed, through the way the two characters react to each other, that they somehow know each other. The reader can see this clearly, though everyone in the crowd or on the balcony is in the dark.
Narrative Voice: The narrators voice comes from a subjective, thirdperson point-of-view. The narrator describes the events from the viewpoint of a few characters, not just one. He describes their thoughts and emotions, though not those of everyone. L I T E R A RY D E V I C E S C O N T. Figurative Language:
There was a remarkable intelligence in his features, as of a person who had so cultivated his mental part that it could not fail to mould the physical to itself, and become manifest by unmistakable tokens. A writhing horror twisted itself across his features, like a snake gliding swiftly over them, and making one little pause, with all its wreathed intervolutions in open sight. But[the medicine] will calm the swell and heaving of thy passion, like oil thrown on the waves of a tempestuous sea.
L I T E R A RY D E V I C E S C O N T. Symbolism and Color: The scarlet of the A symbolizes the sexual nature of the sin it punishes. It also symbolizes the flames of Hell, as it is often described as glowing or burning. Chillingworths hunched disfigurement symbolizes his altered thought processes; he is often shown thinking or acting very differently from those around him. QUIZ I.Other than the scarlet letter, how is Hester
punished? II.How does Hester react to the stranger she sees in the crowd? III.What is the strangers name? IV.How is he connected to Hester? V.What does he vow to do to Hesters lover?
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