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The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Supernatural Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

It might be, too, that a witch, like old Mistress Hibbins, the bitter tempered widow of the magistrate, was to die upon the gallows. (2.1)

Nice, Hawthorne. But does he really believe that she's a witch—or is he just talking with the voice of the community, here?

Quote #2

It had the affect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing her in a sphere by herself. (2.11)

This is the scarlet letter: it's a "spell" that takes her out of the ordinary stuff of day-to-day life. But is Hester the only one under the letter's spell? And if Hester made the letter herself, who cast the spell?

Quote #3

It was whispered, by those who peered after her, that the scarlet letter threw a lurid gleam along the dark passageway of the interior. (3.33)

Okay, obviously the scarlet letter wasn't actually glowing. But this incident—and other supernatural type events—put us into a different world, one in which everyday natural events have supernatural meanings. To people who can see the supernatural where it doesn't exist, Hester's adultery would mean something very different.

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