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The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter


by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter Chapter 9 Quotes

How we cite the quotes:

Quote 1

For the sake of the minister’s health, and to enable the leech to gather plants with healing balm in them, they took long walks on the seashore or in the forest; mingling various talk with the plash and murmur of the waves, and the solemn wind anthem among in treetops. (9.12)

Check out the way Chillingworth's and Dimmesdale's "various talk" sounds just like another kind of natural noise, like the "murmur" of the waves or the "solemn" sounds of the wind. Man and nature don't have to be opposed—they can be in harmony, too.

Quote 2

In his Indian captivity, moreover, he had gained much knowledge of the properties of native herbs and roots; nor did he conceal from his patients, that these simple medicines, Nature’s boon to the untutored savage, had quite as large a share of his own confidence as the European pharmacopoeia, which so many learned doctors had spent centuries in elaborating. (9.2)

Considering that the European system of medicine at this time mostly consisted of bloodletting and chopping off limbs, yeah: probably almost anything would have been better.

Quote 3

These questions were solemnly propounded to Mr. Dimmesdale by the elder ministers of Boston and the deacons of his church, who, to use their own phrase, “dealt with him” on the sin of rejecting the aid which Providence so manifestly held out. He listened in silence, and finally promised to confer with the physician. (9.7)

Dimmesdale wants to let himself die, but he's not allowed to: it would be a sin to refuse Chillingworth's help. (This kind of logic gets tricky once you start adding life-support machines into the mix.)

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