Study Guide

The Scarlet Letter Chapter 18

By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Chapter 18

A Flood of Sunshine

  • Dimmesdale is pretty stoked (and surprised) that Hester would be bold enough to suggest running away with him.
  • But the narrator isn't surprised. After all, Hester has been wandering in a "moral wilderness" for seven years, so she isn't blinded confines of Puritan morality and social structures.
  • She's been prepping to ditch this community for seven years—but Arthur Dimmesdale hasn't. He's pretty freaked out by the whole idea.
  • Still, it's tempting, and he eventually decides to do it. Yay!
  • Hester even takes off that stupid scarlet letter and throws it on the forest floor. Everyone celebrates, the birds sing, the sun comes out, Nature itself blesses them. You know, the whole thing.
  • Even the narrator gets in on the action, philosophizing that untamed Nature will bless people's freedom from society's laws.
  • Hester calls Pearl over—oh, did you forget she was there?—and she comes over, all decked out in twigs and flowers.

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