September 20, 2005
Dimmesdale is Dead?
"The final word came forth with the minister's expiring breath" (234).
Wow. That was a different ending than I expected. I thought something more drastic and terrible was going to happen to Dimmesdale. I can't believe he just died after he confessed. This upset me because poor Pearl finally comes to know who her father is and doesn't even get a chance to spend time with him. I wanted Pearl, Hester, and Dimmesdale to run off and be one big happy family. I think he died after all of his sin was finally confessed, like he was following God's will. Afterall, this probably was the most logical thing to happen considering he was the minister and the people would not know what to do with him.
Posted by AshleyHoltzer at September 20, 2005 09:08 PM
good point, ashley. i also think that dimmesdale's death was symbolic of his truth. his sin was tearing him apart inside so badly that he felt like he was dying for 7 years, but when he finally confessed, his soul was at rest and could pass on. i also felt bad for pearl, but at the same time, i did not want hester and dimmesdale to run away together. if that were to have happened, there would have been no "moral" to the story.
Posted by: LaurenEtling at September 20, 2005 11:34 PM
Good observation Ashley; but I was actually relieved that Dimmesdale confessed and just died right on the spot. At least it's better than having Dimmesdale get away and live in happiness after his confession. My thoughts on this was that Hawthorne was really making it a point, that just because one sins and then confesses, it does not mean that they automatically get a "Get Out of Death Free" card (Monopoly Rocks). He committed the sin, and as Lauren said, they are "Sinners in the eyes of an Angry God."
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Posted by: Jason Pugh at September 21, 2005 12:07 PM
yes i did not want them to run away together either.....that would have ruined the entire story.....ok...let's run away from our problem. but it is a nice little fairy tale to imagine.
i am confused by his death. i want to know exactly why that happened. i know that after he got it out, it was just his time to go and that what would the people would have done with him. but i want to know what the author's intent was by doing this. Since he finally confessed...and then he dies....not a good moral in that.
Posted by: michelle koss at September 21, 2005 12:24 PM
I agree. I did not think that the story was going to end this way and I am a little upset that it did. However, an alternative ending probably would not have fit the story very well because it would have really ruined the townspeople to have to punish their minister.
Posted by: Stacy at September 21, 2005 02:06 PM
In letting Dimmesdale live just long enough to confess his sin, what point is Hawthorne trying to make about the soul, the value of confession, and guilt?
Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at September 21, 2005 02:11 PM
I think Dimmesdale got off easy by dying after his confession. Ok, sure, he lived in pain and with guilt for seven years- we understand that. But to just die after his big speech? He doesn't have to deal with anhy problems that might arise from the confession. What does he care that Hester and Pearl practically went into hiding- he's dead.
Posted by: Nessa at September 21, 2005 04:25 PM
I think it makes a lot of sense. Dimmesdale was able to avoid the pain and suffering for seven years, so why should he force himself to enter a world of new pain? I wonder if Pearl's father had been a much younger, healthier man, if he too would have died immediately after the confession.
Posted by: Meredith Harber at September 21, 2005 05:03 PM
Yes, Lauren. Good point about Dimmesdale's death symbolizing truth. It's like the saying "the truth shall set you free". When he died, its like he was finally lifted from burden of sin.
Posted by: Ashley Holtzer at September 21, 2005 05:44 PM
Dr. Jerz- I think Hawthorne is trying to make a point that sin can wear someone down physically and emotionally. When one has a sin committed on his or her mind, its like the soul is being burdened. The guilt of a sin can literally drive us to death and by Dimmesdale dying, his soul was released from the sin on earth. It seems like Hawthorne values confession and demonstrated throughout the story of what can happen to one's body and mind if guilt is held inside.
Posted by: Ashley Holtzer at September 21, 2005 05:49 PM
Michelle- I guess the way we imagine stories to end goes along with our own likes. I like fairy tale endings, so that's the way I would've wanted it to end. I agree, however, that it was Dimmesdale;s time to go because what would the people have done with him? That would be a whole other story in itself.
Posted by: Ashley Holtzer at September 21, 2005 05:52 PM
Jay- why were you relieved Dimmesdale died?
Posted by: Ashley Holtzer at September 21, 2005 05:53 PM
Yes, Stacy, the townspeople didn't have a very big part in the story anyways and the author would have needed to give a lot more background on them if they did decide to punish their minister.
Posted by: Ashley Holtzer at September 21, 2005 05:54 PM
Nessa- absolutely. Dimmesdale gets off so easy by dying after he confesses. He doesn't get hurt by the people and he doesn't have to deal with anyone anymore.
Posted by: Ashley Holtzer at September 21, 2005 05:56 PM
Meredith- I think Dimmedale did suffer through the 7 years, though. He suffered because he was supposed to be a man of high faith and gave sermons with this ultimate sin lingering in his mind.
Posted by: Ashley Holtzer at September 21, 2005 05:58 PM
I think Hawthorne used the fact that Dimmsdales' sin was killing him slowly very well. I think of Dimmsdale hadn't confessed, he would have lived the remainder of his life in pain and constant guilt for never having done so. He seemed to think it was the right thing to do, that confessing was the only way that God would forgive him. I also think that Pearl knew all along who her father was, and in the end she got what she wanted. To stand with him on the scaffold with all the townspeople watching.
Posted by: Liz Ludovici at September 21, 2005 10:58 PM
Plain and simple. I didn't want Dimmesdale to get away with the sins he committed.
Posted by: Jason Pugh at September 22, 2005 09:23 AM
jay- i definitly don;t think that dimmesdale got away with his sins. he DIED because of his sins. is that not enough?
Posted by: LaurenEtling at September 26, 2005 07:03 PM