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The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter


by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter Reverend John Wilson Quotes

“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?

“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.