The Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter Chapter 8 Quotes Page 2

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(Chapter.Paragraph)

“Art thou a Christian child – ha? Dost thou know thy catechism? Or art thou one of those naughty elves or fairies whom we thought to have left behind us, with other relics of Papistry, in merry old England?” (8.5)

Gee, "merry old England" sounds a lot pleasanter than the strict Puritan world of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. We get the sense that Mr. Wilson and his fellow government officials think of England as a place where frivolous things go down (things like dancing, parties, and eating good food). Apparently, England is also full of elves and fairies, and the Puritans had hoped to have a purely elfless and fairyless society. No supernatural here—unless it's prophetic meteors, of course.

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