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The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Justice and Judgment Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #10

Thus, we seem to see that, as regarded Hester Prynne, the whole seven years of outlaw and ignominy had been little other than a preparation for this very hour. (18.4)

If you throw people out of your community, then you shouldn't be surprised if they refuse to live by your rules. Hester is so over the Puritans right now.

Quote #11

"Hadst thou sought the whole earth over," said he, looking darkly at the clergyman, "there was no one place so secret,—no high place nor lowly place, where thou couldst have escaped me,—save on this very scaffold!" (23.18)

Chillingworth was paying enough attention in church to hear the part about not cheating on your husband, but he evidently snoozed through the follow up: "judge not, lest ye be judged." Oops.

Quote #12

It bore a device, a herald's wording of which might serve for a motto and brief description of our now concluded legend; so somber is it, and relieved only by one ever-glowing point of light gloomier than the shadow:—"On a field, sable, the letter A, gules." (24.12)

The community's final judgment is Hester's tombstone: a scarlet letter A on a field of black. Have they forgiven her? Or is her punishment to be marked by the letter even in death?

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