The Scarlet Letter


By: Derek Green, Zack Bolak, Ryan DeBerry

The Introduction
1-Relation to the end of the story

Pg. 297 "It had been her habit, from an almost immemorial date, to go about the country as a kind of voluntary nurse, and doing whatever miscellaneous good she might; taking upon herself, likewise, to give advice in all matters, especially those of the heart; by which means, as a person of such propensities inevitably must, she gained from many people the reverence due to an angel, but, I should imagine, was looked upon by others as an intruder and a nuisance."
This quote helps to relate to the end of the story because the author of the Custom House mentions that the people think that Hester is a good person who helps around the town. They do not think of her as an adulterer or an outcast. In fact the town grows to like her and accept her. This relates to the end of the story when Hester has done all of these good things and helped to stop the discrimination that she had once faced.

2 – Relation to something in chapters 1-10

Pg. 306 “My own head was the first that fell!”

This quote is the author’s proclamation that he has been fired from his job at the custom house. He is happy to be fired because he believes that his job is eating away his creative ability. Since job loss usually has a negative connotation a major theme in the novel is presented: the good and bad that is wrapped up in simple choices and events. The two most obvious examples in the story are the author’s job loss and Hester’s daughter Pearl. Hester continuously states how her daughter is both a blessing and a curse just like, to a lower extent, the author’s job loss.

3 – Related Account

Pg. 281 “Unless people are more than commonly disagreeable, it is my foolish habit to contract a kindness for them.”

What the author of the custom house is saying is that he tries to find the best in all people. This reminds me of Holden from The Catcher in the Rye because Holden also tries to find the best in people. He once had a really annoying roommate but was able to tolerate him the annoying roommate because he was a good whistler. This prompted him to believe that all people have at least one good trait. He, like the author of the Custom House, was able to see the good in people.

Chapter 1

The title of the opening chapter of the novel is entitled The Prison Door. The scarlet letter is a symbol of religious hypocrisy and betrayal of the Puritan faith. The letter is worn by those who have not abided by the laws set for them by God, and they are forced into public humiliation for the entire time of their punishment. The use of the scarlet letter allows everyone in their community to know that they have committed a crime against their religion. Along with the scarlet letter, the prison door is a symbol of wrongdoing and the aspect of correcting these actions; suffering the consequences of those actions which caused the entrance through the arches of the prison door.

Chapter 2

Reminisce – by 2Pac Shakur
[2Pac: Talking]
I Don't Want To Be Forgotten.
1. I'll Always Be A Troublemaker

To Some People.

But We Grow. We All Grow.
We're Made To Grow.
You Either Evolve,
Or You Disappear.

2. I Reminisce On Tha Fast Times

Can't Explain, Just What Attracts Me To This Dirty Game

I Reminisce On Tha Past Crimes

Gold Chains, Some Extra Change, And Tha Street Fame

[Verse 1:]
A Place To Spend My Quiet Nights, Time To Unwind
So Much Pressure In This Life Of Mine, I Cry At Times
I Once Contemplated Suicide, And Woulda Tried
But When I Held That 9, All I Could See Was My Momma's Eyes
No One Knows My Struggle, They Only See The Trouble
Not Knowin It's Hard To Carry On When No One Loves You
Picture Me Inside The Misery Of Poverty
No Man Alive Has Ever Witnessed Struggles I Survived
Prayin Hard For Better Days, Promise To Hold On
Me And My Dawgs Ain't Have A Choice But To Roll On
We Found A Family Spot To Kick It
Where We Can Drink Liquor And No One Bickers Over Trick
A Spot Where We Can Smoke In Peace, And Even Though We G's
3. We Still Visualize Places, That We Can Roll In Peace

And In My Mind's Eye I See This Place, The Players Go In Fast
I Got A Spot For Us All, So We Can Ball, At Thug's Mansion

I Reminisce On Tha Fast Times
Can't Explain, Just What Attracts Me To This Dirty Game
I Reminisce On Tha Past Crimes
Gold Chains, Some Extra Change, And Tha Street Fame

[Verse 2:]
4. Like Watching Pictures In Hazy Vision

Tonight Is Love Making
Take You Any Place You Wish
Today We Satisfy
Yesterday Was Stolen Kisses
Blind Insanity Perfect Pictures Of Me And My Family
5. Not Understanding The Destiny, That They Planned For Me
6. If I Have Kids Will I Live To See Em Grow?
Though I Don't Know, I Live The Life Of A Thug Until The Day I Go
More Broken Promises, 7. A Sacred Bond Broken
8. I Know I'll Die Alone, But Yet And Still I'm Hoping

Visions Of Prisons, Maybe I'll Be Forgiven

I Know Its Better In Heaven Cause Being Here Ain't Living

Close My Eyes And See Nothing But Pain The World's Crazy
Still Look For A Queen To Plant Seeds And Have Babies
Maybe I'll Be The One, Or Just Maybe I'm Lost
You'll Never Know Being Cautious
If You Play Your Cards Right

[Verse 3:]
Dear Momma Don't Cry, Your Baby Boy's Doin Good
Tell The Homies I'm In Heaven And They Ain't Got Hoods
Seen A Show With Marvin Gaye Last Night, It Had Me Shook
Drippin Peppermint Schnapps, With Jackie Wilson, And Sam Cooke
Then Some Lady Named Billie Holiday
Sang Sittin There Kickin It With Malcolm, 'til The Day Came
Little Latasha Sho' Grown
Tell The Lady In The Liquorstore That She's Forgiven, So Come Home
Maybe In Time You'll Understand Only God Can Save Us
When Miles Davis Cuttin Lose With The Band
9. Just Think Of All The People That You Knew In The Past

That Passed On, They In Heaven, Found Peace At Last
Picture A Place That They Exist, Together
There Has To Be A Place Better Than This, In Heaven
So Right Before I Sleep, Dear God, What I'm Askin
Remember This Face, Save Me A Place, In Thug's Mansion

I Reminisce On Tha Fast Times
Can't Explain, Just What Attracts Me To This Dirty Game
I Reminisce On Tha Past Crimes
Gold Chains, Some Extra Change, And Tha Street Fa

[2Pac: Talking]
I Owe Them Everything. That's Why
I Owe Everything To The 'hood.
I've Got Love There.
I've Got Love From Thugs
And The Street Dudes.
And That Focuses Me Back
On What I Should Be Doing,
Lay Out The Real Mat
On The World And How It Is.
The Message Is,
Young Black Males Could Do Anything
If You Just Give Us A Shot,
Stop Trying To Beat Us Down.
And To My Homeboys, We Need
To Be In Control Of Ourselves.
I'm Not Saying I'll Change The World,
But I Guarantee I'll Spark
The Brain That Will Change The World.

I am working on scene number 3 – the flashbacks that Hester experiences.
  1. This quote can also be applied to Hester because she is also viewed as a “troublemaker” but is viewed in a more negative way.
  2. Hester unfortunately committed adultery and she is forced to live with herself she also doesn’t know what attracted her to that “dirty game.” This dirty game is her “past crime.” She also reminisces on the “fast times” that she cannot believe came and went so fast. She is very uncomfortable with the life she sees before herself at the pillory.
  3. Hester visualizes her past life where “she can roll in peace” and not face the constant eye of everyone around her.
  4. Her past life is so distant that it’s like watching ‘pictures in hazy vision.”
  5. At this point in the novel I believe that Hester is unsure of her place in the world, as I’ve already stated she is not content with her reality.
  6. Hester is not really in a position to die so this takes on more of a figurative meaning - can she “survive” her life and see her daughter grow up.
  7. Hester’s uncomfortable reality can be due to her “sacred bond” that was broken.
  8. Hester, I think, believes that she will die alone and does question whether or not she will be forgiven. She knows that nothing can be worse than the reality that she’s currently in, so she “Clos[es] her eyes.”
  9. She wants peace and is comforted by the non-troublesome events of her past.

Chapter 3

The title of chapter three is The Recognition. This title can be interpreted in a number of different ways. The first way the title could be interpreted by the way that Hester’s husband recognizes that his wife has committed adultery with another man. It could also be that Hester. Another way that the title of the chapter could be related is with Arthur Dimmsedale and Hester. In this chapter Hester is begged to reveal the identity of the father of Pearl. Reverend Dimmesdale is forced to try to make Hester tell. This is very ironic because Dimmesdale is the father of Pearl. Dimmesdale and Hester recognize this fact, and Hester refuses to tell who the father is. Dimmesdale is secretly revealed that Hester does not tell because his life would have been ruined. The third interpretation could be seen when Reverend Wilson gives a big sermon condemning what Hester did. In this section, Hester begins to see that what she did was wrong, and that she will pay for it for the rest of her life.
Chapter 6


The character of Robert Barone can be compared to Pearl, not only in the fact that he was conceived outside of wedlock, but also that he is an outsider in society. Pearl who is often ridiculed by the outside community because of her mother's social standing is much like Robert. Robert, who is a middle-aged man living with his parents, is an outsider not only in the community but in his own family.
Chapter 7
This quote has a tremendous impact on the relationship between Hester and Pearl. Hester is so low on the pecking order in this society that she has entered a constant state of depression. At this point in the novel Hester has turned away from her daughter and has become extremely introverted. This causes Pearl to go move on and become more independent from her mother based on the fact that Hester wants her to have a better life than she does.

Chapter 8
I believe that Hester is a fit mother because throughout the story, you can tell that Hester has learned from his mistake and just wants her daughter Pearl to have a good life. She wants nothing more than for her daughter to have a normal life. She is tired of everyone in the town looking down, and staring at her daughter and hurling insults at her when they walk down. She just wants to raise her child to be a good girl, and learn from her mother's mistakes. I believe that Pearl is better in Hester's hands then maybe someone that they might give her too instead of Hester. I think that Hester can teach her more about the struggles of the Puritan society than any other person in the area. She knows personally how fast the mistakes you make in your life can drastically change in a hurry. She can teach Pearl things that other mothers would not be able to and share with her expierences that no other mother would have.
Chapter 9-10
Their relationship is similar to that of Tony and Carmela in the show The Sopranos.
Tony is a mobster who feels mentally and physical sickness and stress because of his job. His wife is somewhat in the fog about his constant problems. She doesn’t know the full story of her own husband’s life. They are comparative to Dimmesdale and Chillingworth in that Dimmesdale feels sick because his mental stress while Chillingworth is unsure why he feels this way and he desperately wants to find out.

Chapter 11

The quote "To the untrue man, the whole universe is false-it is palpable- it shrinks to nothing within his grasp. And he himself, in so far as he shows himself in a false light, becomes a shadow, or, indeed, cease to exist." means that for those who do not tell the truth about something, the whole world will seem dark and false. He will never be happy or enjoy life as long as he knows that he is living a lie. He begins to try to hide from everyone and become more independent and alone. The event that I linked to this quote was when Pete Rose admitted to gambling in baseball. He denied that he had cheated for a very long time, but finally came out and admitted that he did bet on baseball game while he was playing.
Pete Rose
Chapter 13

Poem: One Day at a Time
Hester sees herself as more hardened
While her fellow puritans say she’s unpardoned
But through all of the gossip and the clatter
And through her Scarlet Latter tatters
Hester knows the one thing that really matters
It’s how she lives her life, not her own destiny
What she truly thinks “only God can judge me”
It’s not they see her grudgingly
And while wants to say “stop judging me”
It’s their way of life and their religion
But this cuts her down like a Dr. Chilling incision
Because not only is she hardened
shes also working hard
Every time she does this they play the “Adulterer Card”
But for some the letter has new meaning
It’s no longer some fabric or a piece of linen
And although her life is unstable
Makes some of it worth just to know that she’s “Able”
She knows removing will make her no better
She realizes the A is just a scarlet letter
It is no more or no less
She doesn’t think that she’s blessed, sometimes
Adultery she sees as a minor crime
She’s done her time
And she prays hard to her Divine
And continues one day at a time

Chapter 18

The Minister has changed tremendously over the course of the novel. By this time he has come to terms with his sin and feels a great amount of relief after the conversation in the woods. Dimmesdale is soon called Arthur Dimmesdale by the author. This act is meant to show the minister as human and a good friend of the reader’s since first name usage had not been a trend throughout the novel.

Final Assignments
1. I feel that Hester’s birth of a daughter instead of a son is an extremely important aspect of the book because in this time period women were treated so differently than men. With Hester’s birth of a daughter it was more likely for the child to be ridiculed by the outside society in the fear that in the future she would commit the same sins that her mother had. However had it been a son I feel that society would have accepted the child more rather than push them to the outside like it was evident in Pearl’s case.

2. We believe that the person who has committed the greatest sin is Reverend Dimmesdale. We believe this because he decides to hide the fact that he was the father of Pearl. Hester takes the punishment of wearing the letter for the rest of her life, but eventually after the initial hard feelings, people begin to forgive her and see her as an equal. Dimmesdale does not admit his sin and bears the hardship of the lie for a very long time. People look up to his teachings and think that he is someone whom everyone should try and strive to be. Dimmesdale deceives everyone in the town and refuses to admit the truth, even though he knows that it would be the right thing to do.
Extra Credit
Throughout The Scarlet Letter I was intrigued about the similarities between it and other forms of American entertainment. One that really struck me was The Shawshank Redemption. For example there is the aspect of adultery and what the jury in the film believes Andy thought was the price for adultery. This occurs within the first few minutes of the film but they are the most important ones because it is here that the connections can be made. The jury attempts to set the price on a sin much like they believed Andy had when he “killed” his wife. This is the main similarity because it is much like Hester having to wear the A as a form of punishment for her adultery.