The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter Chapter 8 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
“Wilt thou go with us tonight? There will be a merry company in the forest; and I well-nigh promised the Black Man that comely Hester Prynne should make one.” (8.39)
Fun! We love a good Satanic party in the woods. After all, you can't exactly have a Satanic party in your living room. The tone just isn't right.
“Better to fast and pray upon it; and still better, it may be, to leave the mystery as we find it, unless Providence reveal it of its own accord.” (8.37)
Chillingworth is desperate to find out who Pearl's father is, but Mr. Wilson thinks that they need to let God reveal it. God, or maybe Jerry Springer. What happens to free will in an era of DNA testing?
“God gave her into my keeping,” repeated Hester Prynne, raising her voice almost to a shriek. “I will not give her up!”—And here, by sudden impulse, she turned to the young clergyman, Mr. Dimmesdale, at whom, up to this moment, she had seemed hardly so much as once to direct her eyes. (8.24)
This "sudden impulse" makes it sound a lot like Hester is possessed—that she's not actually operating out of her own will. Maybe it's just a mother's love—or many it's something a lot bigger. (Is there anything bigger?)