Scarlet Letter Chapter 20-24 Questions and Answers

Chapter 20 “The Minister in a Maze”

1. Where have Hester and Dimmesdale decided to go when they leave Boston ?

Why do they choose to go to Europe rather than remain in the New World. He and Hester have decided to go to Europe, since it offers more anonymity and a better environment for Dimmesdale’s fragile health.

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He wants to give his last final and most emotionally powerful sermon on Election Day.

3. Dimmesdale considers the timing of the ship’s departure to be “most fortunate! Why? He was to preach the Election Sermon and he could not have chanced upon a more suitable mode and time of terminating his professional career.

4. How was Dimmesdale’s trip return from the forest different that his departing trip through the forest?

He has much more energy than when he left only two days earlier, and everything looks different to him. Three times in a row he is approached by various people, and he struggles not to utter blasphemy. He is even tempted to teach dirty words to a group of small Puritan children.

5.Dimmesdale suddenly perceives that everything in the town is now different as he returns to it. What has happened?

He has a new perception of life and feels like a new man after his meeting with Hester.

6. Dimmesdale, as he walks through town to reach his dwelling, is suddenly struck by urges to do terrible things. What were the four instances in which he was tempted to do evil?

He encounters an elderly woman to whom he nearly blurts out a devastating “unanswerable argument against the immortality of the human soul,” but something stops him, and the widow totters away satisfied. He next ignores a young woman whom he has recently converted to the church because he fears that his strange state of mind will lead him to plant some corrupting germ in her innocent heart. Passing one of the sailors from the ship on which he plans to escape, Dimmesdale has the impulse to engage with him in a round of oaths. This comes only shortly after an encounter with a group of children, whom the minister nearly teaches some “wicked words. ”

7. What is Dimmesdale’s voyage through the town like in this chapter?

He’s full of temptation to corrupt everyone he passes by in town.

8. Why did Dimmesdale and Hester decide to leave for England instead of any place else?

They had decided that Europe, with its crowds and cities, offered them a better home and hiding place than anywhere in America, with its choice between an Indian dwelling and a few settlements along the coast. Also, with the minister’s gifts, refinement, and his education meant he needed to live in a civilized place, the more civilized, the better.

9. What did Mistress Hibbins accuse Dimmesdale of?

What was Dimmesdale’s response? She accused him of making a visit to the forest. He denies it. 10. Why did Hester and Dimmesdale decide to leave for England instead of somewhere else?

~SAME AS QUESTION 8~

Chapter 21 & Chapter 22 “The New England Holiday ” & “ The Procession”

1. What have the crowds of people gathered in the market-place to witness?

The people are celebrating Election Day and gathered to witness the inauguration of the Governor.

2. What piece of unwelcome news does the master of the ship on which, she, Pearl , and Dimmesdale are to sail have for Hester?

The piece of unwelcome news, the master of the ship on which Pearl and Dimmesdale are to sail tells Hester is that Chillingworth will be joining them on their passage because the ship needs a doctor and Chillingworth has told the captain that he is a member of Hester’s party.

3. Where does Hester stand during the procession and during Dimmesdale’s sermon in the church?

Hester takes Pearl and goes to stand near the foot of the scaffold in order to listen to Dimmesdale’s speech.

4. Dimmesdale must cross a swamp to return to the scaffold. What happens in the swamp?

He falls inside and almost drowns.

6. Why does Pearl say that Dimmesdale is a “strange, sad man?

” Because of the demeanor he possesses and his profile.

7. What is the New England holiday?

Holiday celebrated with a procession involving the Governor and other very good people and soldiers.

8. What did Pearl want from Dimmesdale that Hester would not permit?

Pearl questions Dimmesdale’s love for Hester and her by asking if he loves them enough to walk back to town with them hand in hand.

9. Hester’s “spirit sank with the idea that all must have been a delusion.

” What’s happening at this point? Chillingworth has ruined her plans with Dimmesdale that she had so been looking forward to. It was obvious that he was aware of their plans and decided to travel with them and follow.

10. What news does the shipmaster ask Pearl to tell Hester? Same answer as number 2.

11. What did Pearl want from Dimmesdale that Hester would not permit?

~SAME AS QUESTION 8~

12. Hester’s “spirit sank with the idea that all must have been a delusion.

What’s happening at this point?

~SAME AS QUESTION 9~

13. What news does the shipmaster ask Pearl to tell Hester?

~SAME AS QUESTION 10 and 2~

Chapter 23 “The Revelation of the Scarlet Letter”

1. Who empowered Dimmesdale to stand on the scaffold? Hester and Perl carry Dimmsdale to go up on the scaffold and he leans heavily upon their shoulders.

2. Describe the most significant thing Dimmesdale does in this chapter. He stands on the scaffold with Hester and his daughter, showing everyone his badge of sin .

3.What did Pearl do when standing next to her father on the scaffold? Why? Pearl kisses his lips, his confession has created sympathy in her heart, not just for him, but for her mother, as well.

4. Describe what happens to Pearl during this final scaffold moment. As her tears fell upon her father’s cheek, they were the pledge that she would change from the cold and distant child that she was, transforming the trouble child she once was.

5. What does Chillingworth do in response to Dimmesdale’s actions at the scaffold? Why?

He tries to talk him out of confessing because once Dimmesdale escapes him, he will have nothing to live forward to.

Chapter 24 “Conclusion”

1. What does Hawthorne say about what happened at the scaffold at the beginning of this chapter? That there are many versions, according to people, about what happened during Dimmesdale’s “confession. ” Some say his sin was eating him from his heart until it appeared on his chest. Some blame it on Roger’s drugs. Others claim it was as bright as the one on Hester Prynne’s chest. While other claim that there was nothing there, and that his death in a sinful woman’s arms was just an act of human righteousness.

2. What important lesson has Dimmesdale taught the people of the town? Find a quote that supports this. His death was a parable to teach people that we are all sinners in the eyes of God. After exhausting life in his efforts for mankind’s spiritual good, he had made the manner of his death a parable, in order to impress on his admirers the mighty and mournful lesson, that, in the view of Infinite Purity, we are sinners all alike… nd especially a clergyman’s—will sometimes uphold his character; when proofs, clear as the mid-day sunshine on the scarlet letter, establish him a false and sin-stained creature of the dust(pg. 231). ”

3. Who did Chillingworth leave his property to? He left everything to Pearl.

4. What do people think the scarlet letter stood for Dimmesdale’s breast?

5. What details do we know about Chillingworth after reading this chapter? That he dies a year after Dimmesdale and leaves all his fortune in Pearl’s hands.

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