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The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter Chapter 21 Summary

The New England Holiday

  • The new Governor is going to take office, and it's party time for everyone.
  • Even Hester comes into town. Like always, she doesn't give much away—but there just might be a teeny little expression of freedom on her face.
  • Most people wouldn't notice a gorilla wandering onto a basketball court, so they sure don't notice Hester's expression.
  • But Pearl does.
  • Knowing something's up, she's acting wild—but she calms down enough to say that she's a strange, sad man if he'll greet them only at night or in the forest.
  • Hester shushes her and tells her to notice how happy everybody is around them, celebrating Election Sunday (i.e., a day of both religious and civil thanksgiving).
  • This is essentially the one day of the year that the Puritans seem like all other communities.
  • The commander of the Bristol ship comes to talk to Hester. BTW, he says, there's going to be another passenger from your town.
  • Three guesses?
  • Okay, fine, we'll tell you.
  • It's Chillingworth, obviously.

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