Answer all questions on a separate sheet of paper or a separate Word document. In order to receive full credit, all answers must be written in complete sentences.
1. How does Roger Chillingworth come to be Dimmesdale’s personal physician? Chillingworth offered, and originally Dimmesdale turned him down, but everyone in his church pushed for it because they were worried for his health and thought it was perfect that a medical person had finally arrived in Boston.
2. How has Roger Chillingworth changed since Hester first knew him? When Hester first new him, he was her husband and from what the reader can gather, he was gentle and scholarly and bookish. Now, he seems to be aggressive and evil.
3. What does Chillingworth suggest is the cause of Dimmesdale’s suffering? Chillingworth implies that some mental or emotional discomfort is the cause of Dimmesdale’s physical sickness.
4. How does Pearl’s behavior in the cemetery express a link between Dimmesdale and Hester? When at the cemetery by Dimmesdale and Chillingworth’s house, she throws one of the burrs she had been sticking on Hester’s A at Dimmesdale. This was her (knowingly or not) acknowledging the connection between her, her mother, and Dimmesdale.
5. How does Chillingworth finally discover the cause of Dimmesdale’s suffering? He sneaks into his room at night and examines his chest, where he finds a letter A burned into his skin.
6. What reason is given for Dimmesdale’s ability to touch the soul of others? He was so passionate at his sermons, coupled with his compassion for man and God made him a trustworthy and welcoming stature. Also, he had a lot of guilt from his sin, so he could better understand where other “sinners” were coming from. He was also not judgmental.
7. What effect does public veneration have upon the Reverend Dimmesdale? He feels guilty that people look up to him so much considering what he did.
8. How does Dimmesdale seek penitence? He hurts himself, physically and mentally.
9. Describe Dimmesdale’s first vigil on the scaffold. The first vigil was at night, and someone walked by and he didn’t see Dimmesdale. It was almost exciting for Dimmesdale to almost be caught and known for what he did. Then Hester and Pearl showed up and also stood on the scaffold with him, and Chillingworth saw.
10. What meanings are given to the apparition in the sky? The A that falls from the sky could be seen as God’s acknowledgement of Dimmesdale’s sin.
11. What effect does the midnight vigil have on Hester? She feels better that Dimmesdale is also (kind of) accepting responsibility for their affair.
12. What has Hester’s A come to mean to many of the townspeople? Hester’s A is not as big a deal as it used to be to people – she’s helped so many and worked so much that it has come to represent “able” as much as “adultery”. While she’s done so much to redeem herself, though, the judgment still lingers.
13. Describe the changes in Hester’s appearance and temperament wrought by the scarlet token. Hester originally was soft, feminine, and generally docile in temperament. The A has made her harder, more shut off, and look less approachable and kind.
14. In what way has the A freed Hester? She was sort of outcast by Puritan society, and this has allowed her to see their indiscretions and choose not to be a part of them. In many ways, Hester is more righteous than the townsfolk.
15. Why does Dimmesdale go to…