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The Scarlet Letter

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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