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The Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter
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The Scarlet Letter Chapter 19 Summary
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.
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