The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter Chapter 2 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Stretching for the official staff in his left hand, he laid his right upon the shoulder of a young woman, whom he thus drew forward; until, on the threshold of the prison door, she repelled him, by an action marked with natural dignity and force of character, and stepped into the open air, as if by her own free will. (2.9)
We like to think of it this way. But seriously: "as if." Does that mean it's not actually free will? Or is it—and does actively choosing to be shamed and punished mean that she eventually gets forgiveness?
It had the affect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing her in a sphere by herself. (2.11)
This is the scarlet letter: it's a "spell" that takes her out of the ordinary stuff of day-to-day life. But is Hester the only one under the letter's spell? And if Hester made the letter herself, who cast the spell?