The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter Chapter 24 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
At old Roger Chillingworth's decease (which took place within the year), and by his last will and testament, of which Governor Bellingham and the Reverend Mr. Wilson were executors, he bequeathed a very considerable amount of property, both here and in England, to little Pearl, the daughter of Hester Prynne. (24.6)
Is this Roger Chillingworth's final, twisted act of revenge—a way of haunting Hester and Pearl? Or is it just a (very nice) apology?
The angel and apostle of the coming revelation must be a woman, indeed, but lofty, pure, and beautiful; and wise, moreover, not through dusky grief, but the ethereal medium of joy; and showing how sacred love should make us happy, by the truest test of a life successful to such an end! (24.11)
Here, the narrator tells us that Hester once thought she could revolutionize the roles women play in relation to men and to society. The narrator claims that such a philosophizing person would have to be a woman, but she would have to be knowledgeable and wise because of "joy." Too bad for Hester that her wisdom comes through grief and guilt.
It bore a device, a herald's wording of which might serve for a motto and brief description of our now concluded legend; so somber is it, and relieved only by one ever-glowing point of light gloomier than the shadow:—"On a field, sable, the letter A, gules." (24.12)
The community's final judgment is Hester's tombstone: a scarlet letter A on a field of black. Have they forgiven her? Or is her punishment to be marked by the letter even in death?