The Scarlet Letter Questions
What details from the physical description of Hester Prynne suggest that she is not merely a passive victim?
Hester was obviously forced to embroider the Scarlet A on her chest and added gold thread, she made it beautiful and decorative. The townspeople felt that she was taking pride in it and throwing it in their faces. The decoration showed that she was proud and that she wasn't going to hide behind something drab. She also made no attempt to hide the Scarlet letter with the baby she held in her arms and she certainly could have. On page 51 the text says Hester had a “desperate recklessness in her mood” because of her clothing. She came out looking ladylike and pretty instead of hiding.
- A stranger who looks on is described as both "civilized and a savage." Who is he? How does he account for his bizarre appearance? When he does learn about the crime and punishment of Hester Prynne, what aspect of the situation seems to irk him the most? (Ch. 3)
I think we're going to discover that this stranger is her husband who is been missing for so long. He says he had been captured by Indians and tortured and that's why he looks so odd. When the stranger learns about the punishment of Hester he resents the fact that the father is not standing next to her as she's being shamed by the community.
- According to Reverend Dimmesdale, what is Hester's obligation to the lover who she refused to name?
According to the Reverend Hester's obligation to her lover is to name him and make him pay for what he has done. The Reverend tells her to say the name so that they would consider taking the Scarlet letter off her chest.
- How does the baby respond to the sight of Reverend Dimmesdale? How does Reverend Wilson interpret the baby's reaction? How do you interpret the baby's response? (Ch. 3)
The baby responds to Rev. Dimmesdale by holding up its little arms towards him. The Rev. Wilson interprest the babies reaction as the baby confirming what had been said by the Reverend.. Rev. Wilson felt that the child was agreeing with him and that she should name her father. I interpret the babies response as the first indication who the real father is. I believe the child who had been crying and upset throughout the ordeal only calmed down when she heard the voice of her real father and wanted him to hold her. I believe it is the first indication that Rev. Dimmesdale is the father of the baby.