The Scarlet Letter

Lesson 14

Objective

Analyze the “other views” of Hester that the author presents in this chapter.

Readings and Materials

  • Book: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne  — Chapter 13: Another View of Hester

Target Task

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Question 1

According to the narrator, one consequence for Hester of her isolation from the community was

A.

a harsh transformation of both her appearance and her character.

B.

that she had become more thoughtful and had closer relationships.

C.

that people became suspicious and accused her of witchcraft and magic.

D.

she began to resent the scarlet letter and the fate it had sealed for her.

Which piece of evidence best supports the answer to the question above?

A.

“In such emergencies…that needed one.” (p. 66)

B.

“All the light…a similar change.” (p. 67)

C.

“Then she might…a prophetess.” (p. 68)

D.

“Providence…host of difficulties.” (p. 68)

Question 2

Explain the double meaning of the chapter’s title, “Another View of Hester.” Use evidence from the text to support your answer.

Key Questions

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  • According to the narrator on p. 64, what had Hester noticed about Dimmesdale? To what did she attribute his current state? What decision does she make concerning him? Why?
  • How has isolation impacted Hester’s view of right and wrong? (p. 65)
  • What relationship between love and hate does the author develop here?
  • How does the narrator characterize Hester’s relationship with the community on pp. 65–66? Explain.
  • What has the A come to symbolize for the townspeople? Why? (p. 66)
  • How does their changing opinion give us “another view of Hester”?
  • What is the significance of the line “only the darkened house contained her”? How does it further develop the motif of light and dark?
  • How has the letter and her isolation changed Hester? Compare this to how the townspeople’s impression of her has changed. (p. 67)
  • What is the significance of the reference to Ann Hutchinson on p. 68? What is it implying about the importance of Pearl in Hester’s life?
  • What questions does Hester ponder about her fate? The fate of women in Puritan society? Why?
  • How does Hester’s evolving identity paint “another view” of Hester?
  • What does the narrator reveal on p. 69 about Hester’s motivation for keeping Chillingworth’s identity secret? How has her thinking changed? Why?
  • In what small ways does the author evoke pity for Chillingworth in these final paragraphs?
  • “The old man, on the other hand, had brought himself nearer to her level, or perhaps below it, by the revenge he had stooped for.” How does this sentence develop the theme of sin?