The Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne Quotes Page 3
"Doth he love us?" said Pearl, looking up with acute intelligence into her mother's face. "Will he go back with us, hand in hand, we three together, into the town?"
"Not now, dear child," answered Hester. "But in days to come he will walk hand in hand with us. We will have a home and fireside of our own; and thou shalt sit upon his knee; and he will teach thee many things, and love thee dearly. Thou wilt love him; wilt thou not?"
"And will he always keep his hand over his heart?" inquired Pearl. (19.33-37)
Pearl answers her mom's question, "Will you love Dimmesdale?" by saying, essentially, "Will he still be a hypocrite?" She can't love him while he's living a lie—and the moment he confesses, she acknowledges him as a father. Too bad that he's literally dying when he does it.
Doth the universe lie within the compass of yonder town, which only a little time ago was but a leaf-strewn desert, as lonely as this around us? Whither leads yonder forest track? Backwards to the settlement, thou sayest! Yes; but onward too! Deeper it goes, and deeper, into the wilderness, less plainly to be seen at every step! until, some few miles hence, the yellow leaves will show no vestige of the white man’s tread. There thou art free! So brief a journey would bring thee from a world where thou hast been most wretched, to one where thou mayest still be happy! Is there not shade enough in all this boundless forest to hide thy heart from the gaze of Roger Chillingworth? (17.46)
NEWS FLASH! Massachusetts Bay Colony is not, we repeat not, the center of the universe. There is a whole entire world out there, one in which Hester and Dimmesdale could live freely, without guilt, and among people who accept them. Hester seems truly enlightened at this moment. She has the big-picture perspective. Years of being rejected as an outcast have allowed her to realize how ridiculous the rules are in her community—at least at this moment.