Going on a trip to Hell!

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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.  

3 Comments

Dimmy!! That cracked me up!

Oh the high that he was on when they came out of the forest and the speech he gave was amazing, then to turn around so quickly and be dead, makes me sick that Chillingworth won and they didn't give me a happy ending.

I don't think it was that bad of an ending. Hester and Pearl did get to move away for sometime, hopefully to live a somewhat happy, normal life then Hester returns to the cottage, obviously her choice. Dimmesdale finally found peace in dying and as for Chillingworth, oh well.

Mary Jane, I agree with you so much!! When I read the nickname "Dimmy," I nearly died laughing! Nice one, Michael!

Also, the idea of the not-so-happy ending is actually very typical of the Romantic movement in literature. We need to remember, again, that just because it is called "Romantic" doesn't mean that it is a Harlequin or the next Nicholas Sparks book. In terms of the literary movement, it simply means that everything is over-dramatized. The characters have much more detailed attitudes and actions, and the plot is very eye-popping. The whole purpose of this idea is only to depict the characters as dramatic and proud, but not in a happy sense; rather, it is through actions such as Dimmesdale's heart-wrenching plea for forgiveness just before he dies in the eyes of the public.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael McCullough published on September 15, 2010 8:35 AM.

Podcast 4: The Scarlet Letter 7-12 was the previous entry in this blog.

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