The Scarlet Letter

Lesson 22


Analyze the author’s development of the plot, symbols, and themes of the novel in Chapter 22.

Readings and Materials

  • Book: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne  — Chapter 22: The Procession

Target Task


Question 1

The narrator uses the phrase, “all must have been a delusion,” on p. 111 to present Hester as









Question 2

The market and the forest are used to represent which of the following in this chapter?


judgment and sin vs. punishment and redemption


rules and appearances vs. freedom and passion 


appearances vs. reality


hypocrisy vs. truth

Question 3

How does Hawthorne develop the theme of sin and redemption in this chapter? Use evidence to support your answer.

Question 4

We are approaching the climax of the novel. Make a prediction, based on the clues Hawthorne has provided, about how the novel must end. Use evidence to support your answer.

Key Questions


  • What does the narrator mean by “new and startling state of affairs” on p. 109?
  • According to the narrator on pp. 109–110, what characteristics did Puritan leaders have and not have? 
  • Who is being referred to as “the young and eminently divine” on p. 110? How does the narrator compare men of this profession to the politicians?
  • How is Dimmesdale described on pp. 110–111? What distinction is made between his mind and body? Why?
  • How does the narrator describe Hester’s feelings as she observes Dimmesdale?
  • How does the narrator use the symbolism of the marketplace and the forest on p. 111? What do each represent here?
  • Who approaches Hester on p. 112? What does the narrator tell us about this character and what does she say about Dimmesdale?
  • “Dost though think I have been to the forest so many times, and have yet no skill to judge who else has been there?” What does Mistress Hibbins mean here?
  • “What is that the good minister seeks to hide, with his hand always over his heart?” And here?
  • Where does Hester stand on p. 113? What other scenes have taken place here? What is the significance of Hawthorne’s choice to set this scene here? 
  • How does the narrator describe Dimmesdale’s voice and tone on p. 113? 
  • Track the narrator’s descriptions of Pearl on p. 114.
  • What news does the mariner ask Pearl to relay to Hester?
  • How does the author use irony to develop Hester’s plight on p. 115? Explain.
  • How does the author use juxtaposition at the end of the chapter? What does it communicate?
  • Dimmesdale has cut off the possibility of escape just as the novel is reaching its climax. What other options do the lovers have?