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The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter


by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter Chapter 21 Quotes

How we cite the quotes:

Quote 1

Children have always a sympathy in the agitations of those connected with them; always, especially, a sense of any trouble or impending revolution, of whatever kind, in domestic circumstances; and therefore Pearl, who was the gem on her mother's unquiet bosom, betrayed, by the very dance of her spirits, the emotions which none could detect in the marble passiveness of Hester's brow (21.4)

In contrast to her ice-queen mom, Pearl is like a Girl Gone Wild without all the unsavory aspects. Is Pearl special, or do all girls in this community have to learn to hide their feelings, just like Hester?

Pearl > Hester Prynne

Quote 2

"What a strange, sad man is he!" said the child, as if speaking partly to herself. "In the dark night-time, he calls us to him, and holds thy hand and mine, as when we stood with him on the scaffold yonder! And in the deep forest, where only the old trees can hear, and the strip of sky see it, he talks with thee, sitting on a heap of moss! And he kisses my forehead, too, so that the little brook would hardly wash it off! But, here, in the sunny day, and among all the people, he knows us not; nor must we know him! A strange, sad man is he, with his hand always over his heart!" (21.10-12)

Yeah, it is weird that Dimmesdale will only acknowledge his lover and child in the dark forest—weird and sad. But not quite sad enough for us to feel sorry for him, since there's an easy fix.

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