The Scarlet Letter
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The Child at the Brook-Side
- Pearl walks up, and her parents talk about how she (1) looks like both of them, (2) also looks like a fairy, and (3) is the "visible tie" that binds them together.
- Oh, but Dimmesdale should chill, because Pearl doesn't like emotion.
- Come to think of it, children often don't like Dimmesdale—but Hester promises that this one will.
- As Pearl stands on the other side of the brook, looking at them, Hester suddenly feels separated from her daughter.
- Um, maybe because she's standing on the other side of the brook?
- Anyway, the narrator has something to say about this: it's Hester's fault, because she admitted another person to the intimate circle that had always been made up of only mother and child.
- Pearl feels lost, looking at the two of them.
- Dimmesdale is getting a little freaked out, too, so he tells Pearl to hurry up.
- And then Pearl flips out a bit, throwing a cute little temper tantrum.
- For some reason, Hester thinks the solution is to tell Pearl to bring her the scarlet letter, which is lying on the ground nearby.
- Get it yourself, says Pearl.
- Actually, says Hester, that's a good idea; she'd better keep wearing it until they leave the village.
- Symbol back on and hair back in her cap, she's the same old sinning Hester, and Pearl finally comes over and kisses her—and kisses the letter.
- "Ooh, burn," Hester essentially says.
- Despite all this heavily symbolic foreshadowing, Pearl asks if Dimmesdale will hold their hands as they walk back to the village.
- We're not surprised when he refuses, but she is—and when he bends down to kiss her, she runs to the brook to wash it off.