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The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter Chapter 7 Summary
The Governor's Hall Hester takes a pair of gloves she fringed and embroidered to the Governor. Her real purpose is to find out if the rumors she had heard are true: are the town leaders going to take Pearl away? Pearl comes with her, wearing a scarlet dress—a color that brings out Pearl's beauty, making her appear the "very brightest little jet of flame that ever danced upon the earth" (7.3). Obviously, this reminds everybody of the scarlet letter on Hester's breast, so maybe not such a good idea if you're trying to retain custody of your kid. While waiting for the Governor at his house, Pearl discovers a mirror that distorts shapes. When Hester looks in the mirror, she sees her scarlet letter in "exaggerate and gigantic proportions, so as to be greatly the most prominent feature of her appearance" (7.20). Well, obviously, otherwise we might miss the fact that the scarlet letter is a SYMBOL. Pearl's look of "naughty merriment" is also enhanced and distorted by the mirror, giving Hester the feeling that she is looking at an "imp" (or a devilish figure) and not her daughter. They move to the garden and, just as Pearl is starting to cry for a red rose from one of the bushes in the garden, they hear the voices of the Governor and his guests coming toward them.
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