In Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, over the hump and racing down the other side of this literary mountain, we come to the attempted escape of Hester and Dimmesdale with Pearl. After 7 long years of their turmoil, the two, still not seemingly a happy couple, have decided to leave port after Dimmy gives his Election Sunday. But why does Dimmesdale get so fruity? Not remembering what he told the elder church lady? Barely able to keep himself from saying nasty things to parishioners and the children? Perhaps the tumult of his spiritual freedom, knowing he has these plans gives him the wherewithall to say "Screw this, I'm outta here!"
Then Hester makes plans to leave and talks to the mariner. He tells her she has another guest on her list...yep. Ole Roger Chillingworth. I loved the finality of the chapter and how it ends again on Chillingworth's deranged leer!
But the nearing to the end, Dimmesdale's speech, where he seems to fall more ill as the time passes, he rejects Bellinghams help and calls Hester and Pearl up to him, in front of the crowd.
Perhaps it is this flood of emotion that causes Dimmesdale to react this way. Maybe the idea that he can again be a better person by tossing off this dark veil of misdeed he enveloped himself in has enraptured him.
We see forgiveness again, but it is Dimmesdale saying he hopes God forgives Chillingworth. So they don't run away together. Chillingworth doesn't get his revenge. And our protagonist, Hester, is seen in a different light by Pearl. Hester and Dimmesdale have changed to the girl.
P.S. What a downer ending! She doesn't even get buried next to Dimmy, and we know nothing for sure about Pearl.