EN 209 Lecture Notes - Lecture 23: Tragic Hero, Little People, Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The Scarlet Letter
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Class Discussion 2
Important Quotes and Explanations
“‘Thou knowest,’ said Hester... ‘thou knowest that I was frank with thee. I felt no love,
nor feigned any’” (466).
- She was always honest that she wasn’t in love, and she never faked it either.
- She married him merely for his security.
“‘True!’ replied he. ‘It was my folly!... up to that epoch of my life, I had lived in vain… My
heart was a habitation large enough for many guests, but lonely and chill, and without a
household fire. I longed to kindle one! It seemed not so wild a dream, old as I was, and
sombre as I was, and misshapen as I was, that the simple bliss… might yet be mine. And
so, Hester, I drew thee by the warmth which thy presence made there!’” (466-467).
- He spent so much time in his books and education that he became lonely.
- He wanted Hester because he wanted to share his life with someone.
“‘I have greatly wronged thee,’ murmured Hester. ‘We have wronged each other,’
answered he. ‘Mine was the first wrong, when I betrayed thy budding youth into a false
and unnatural relation with my decay. Therefore, as a man who has not thought and
philosophized in vain, I seek no vengeance, plot no evil against thee. Between thee and me,
the scale hangs fairly balanced’” (467).
- Hester focuses on “I”
- Chillingworth focuses on “we”
- Up until this point the conversation, Chillingworth seems accepting and willing to
be peaceful with Hester.
- Seems to contrast the talk with Dimmesdale
- Dimmesdale is playing the “Reverend Rape Figure”
- Dimmesdale is a ladies man at the church
“‘But, Hester, the man lives who has wronged us both! Who is he?’ ‘Ask me not!’ replied
Hester… ‘That thou shalt never know!’... ‘Never know him! Believe me, Hester, there are
few things, whether in the outward world, or, to a certain depth, in the invisible sphere of
thought, few things hidden from the man, who devotes himself earnestly and and
unreservedly to the solution of a mystery… I shall seek this man, as I have sought truth in
books; as I have sought gold in alchemy… he must needs be mine!” (467).
- Tables turn in Chillingworth’s tone towards her.
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Document Summary

Important quotes and explanations (cid:786)(cid:788)thou kno(cid:442)est,(cid:789) said heste(cid:389) (cid:788)thou kno(cid:442)est that i (cid:442)as (cid:300)(cid:389)ank (cid:442)ith thee. I (cid:300)elt no lo(cid:441)e, no(cid:389) (cid:300)ei(cid:301)ned an(cid:448)(cid:789)(cid:787) (cid:772)(cid:683)(cid:685)(cid:685)(cid:773). 2he (cid:442)as al(cid:442)a(cid:448)s honest that she (cid:442)asn(cid:789)t in lo(cid:441)e, and she ne(cid:441)e(cid:389) (cid:300)aked it eithe(cid:389). He spent so mu(cid:262)h time in his (cid:261)ooks and edu(cid:262)ation that he (cid:261)e(cid:262)ame lonel(cid:448). The(cid:389)e(cid:300)o(cid:389)e, as a man (cid:442)ho has not thou(cid:301)ht and philosophized in (cid:441)ain, i seek no (cid:441)en(cid:301)ean(cid:262)e, plot no e(cid:441)il a(cid:301)ainst thee. Bet(cid:442)een thee and me, the s(cid:262)ale han(cid:301)s (cid:300)ai(cid:389)l(cid:448) (cid:261)alan(cid:262)ed(cid:789)(cid:787) (cid:772)(cid:683)(cid:685)(cid:686)(cid:773). Up until this point the (cid:262)on(cid:441)e(cid:389)sation, chillin(cid:301)(cid:442)o(cid:389)th seems a(cid:262)(cid:262)eptin(cid:301) and (cid:442)illin(cid:301) to (cid:261)e pea(cid:262)e(cid:300)ul (cid:442)ith heste(cid:389). 2eems to (cid:262)ont(cid:389)ast the talk (cid:442)ith dimmesdale. Dimmesdale is pla(cid:448)in(cid:301) the (cid:786)re(cid:441)e(cid:389)end rape fi(cid:301)u(cid:389)e(cid:787) Dimmesdale is a ladies man at the (cid:262)hu(cid:389)(cid:262)h (cid:786)(cid:788)but, heste(cid:389), the man li(cid:441)es (cid:442)ho has (cid:442)(cid:389)on(cid:301)ed us (cid:261)oth! Who is he? (cid:789) (cid:788)(sk me not! (cid:789) (cid:389)eplied. Heste(cid:389) (cid:788)that thou shalt ne(cid:441)e(cid:389) kno(cid:442)!(cid:789) (cid:788)ne(cid:441)e(cid:389) kno(cid:442) him! Ta(cid:261)les tu(cid:389)n in chillin(cid:301)(cid:442)o(cid:389)th(cid:789)s tone to(cid:442)a(cid:389)ds he(cid:389).

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