Рефераты. American Literature books summary

Chapter 2: A town meeting is taking place and the people of the town,

mainly the women, are gathered for the release of the adulteress, Hester

Prynne. She steps out of the prison with the town beadle leading her with

his hand on her shoulder. Hawthorn describes her as beautiful with a very

proud stature that does not cower to the crowd of disdain that surrounds

her. On her chest she bears the scarlet letter ‘A’ that is surrounded by

shining gold thread upon a gown that scandalizes the women of the town.

Clutched close to her breast is the child that was produced by her adultery

and the apparent reason she was not more harshly punished for her crime.

She stood there under public scrutiny, not with a look of shame but almost

bewilderment that her life had panned out as it had.

Chapter 3: Mistress Prynne is placed upon the pillory for three hours so

all can see her shame. As she is standing there with her babe, she notices

a new man in town along with an Indian. From the moment she sees him, she

cannot take her eyes from him. An angry look quickly flashes across the

man’s face at the sight of her and he inquires to the town person next to

him why the woman is made to stand upon the pillory. Both the man and the

readers are informed that Mistress Prynne was married to a man who has not

yet returned from the Netherlands where they sailed from to New England.

Because she was so long away from her husband, it is obvious that he was

not the father of her child. The man asked of her sentence, and of the man

who did father the child and the town’s person told him that the father is

not known. The Governor of the town who is standing on a higher platform

then appeals to the Reverend Dimmesdale to extract the name of father from

Mistress Prynne. After an emotional plea to Mistress Prynne, she still

refuses to state the name of the father of her child, and states that her

child has only a heavenly father.

Chapter 4: When Mistress Prynne was returned to the prison, she was in such

mental disarray that the jailer, Master Brackett, decided to call in the

physician. Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s real husband, introduces himself

as the physician for Mistress Prynne and as soon as he enters the room, she

goes perfectly still. Mr. Chillingsworth was the same man who she saw when

she was on the pillory. He began to examine the baby and Hester expresses

her concern that he will hurt the child as revenge on her.

They talk about their failed marriage, and how there was never love

between them, and Roger tells her not to reveal to anyone who he really

was. After giving her a draught to calm her, he asks her who the father of

the child was. Again, as she did when asked by the Reverend, she refuses

to give the name of the father. At her refusal, he tells her that he will

find out who the man is and that she not breathe a word of his identity to


Chapter 5: Hester was released from prison and free to go wherever she

wished. Instead of fleeing the town she moved to a little cottage outside

of it, and supported herself with her needlework. She sewed for many

different people of the town but kept herself in plain clothing, save the

letter upon her bosom. She took all of the passion of her life and used it

to ply her needle. Much of her work she donated to the poor as penance for

her guilt. Although they all coveted her services, she was still an

outcast looked upon with malice and her sin burned deep in her soul.

Chapter 6: Hester named her child Pearl because she was her treasure in

life. Pearl was beautiful and intelligent, and had an air of a nymph about

her. Even as a baby, the child was fascinated by the scarlet letter Hester

wore upon her breast. This was a constant reminder for Hester of her sin.

Pearl was a happy laughing child who had a fiery passion and temper that

made Hester and others wonder if she was a demon with her black eyes.

Everywhere Hester went Pearl went also. They had only each other. Hester

attempted to raise her daughter with Puritan values but could not

discipline her and Pearl held the strings on whether or not she did what

she was told. Chapter 7: Hester and Pearl went to the Governor

Bellingham’s house to deliver a pair of gloves she had embroidered for him.

More than the delivery, Hester was there to plead to be able to keep

Pearl. The people of the town thought that because of her sin, Hester was

unfit to raise her child. When she arrived to the house, the governor was

with other gentleman in the garden and they waited for a chance to speak

with him. As they were waiting, Pearl was examining a shining suit of

armor and saw Hester in it. She was delighted by the sight, and Hester’s

image was lost behind the large shiny red letter that was magnified by the

polished armor.

Chapter 8: The Governor, the pastor John Wilson, Reverend Dimmesdale, and

Roger Chillingworth exited the garden to find their path blocked by the

nymph Pearl. Struck by the beauty of the scarlet clad child they ask her

to whom she belongs. She answers that she is Pearl, and her mother’s

child. As they enter the hall, they see Mistress Prynne and are happy that

she has come so they can discuss what to do with Pearl. Testing to see

whether the child has been properly instructed so far, the dotting John

Winston asks young Pearl who made her. Pearl, though she knew the correct

answer was the Heavenly Father answered that she had been plucked by her

mother from the rose bush by the prison door.

The gentlemen were appalled by the child’s answer and decided that Hester

should not raise her further. Hester was angry with this and pleaded

Reverend Dimmesdale who knew she was capable of guiding the child

spiritually to let her keep Pearl. She argued that God gave her Pearl, and

that they could not take away the only joy that God gave her. After

discussing it further among themselves, with the Reverend giving an

impassioned plea for Hester, they decided to let her keep Pearl. Hester

was thankful, and she and Pearl left for home. Mr. Chillingworth offered

to figure out the identity of the father of the child, but his offer was

refused. As she leaves, Hester realizes that she would have sold her soul

to the devil if it meant she could keep her child.

Chapter 9: Since his first appearance in town, the people looked on Roger

Chillingworth as a blessing. They were thankful that such a learned

physician was given to them. As time went on, Mr. Chillingworth and the

Reverend Dimmesdale became very close. Though he was young, the Reverend

was growing sicker and sicker by the day and the people of the town

implored him to let the physician examine him. He refused but continued to

become closer and closer to the old man. After a while they even began

living together in the home of a respected matron of the town. As time

passed, the people began to look at Mr. Chillingworth differently however.

Instead of seeing a man sent from God to help them, they saw in his old

disfigured form, a servant of Satan that was sent to haunt the Reverend.

Chapter 10: Mr. Chillingworth watched the Reverend searching him for the

secret sin of his soul. Searching for Hester’s lover became the secret

purpose of his life and it clouded his head and heart. Slowly he was

trying to get the Reverend to confess to the deed, and one afternoon began

a discussion with him about unconfessed sin and how it eats away at the

soul. While they are talking, they see Hester and Pearl in the cemetery.

They look up at the men in the window and they wonder if the mischevious

nymph like, Pearl, is true evil. After the woman and the child leave the

cemetery, the men continue with their conversation.

Mr. Chillingworth accuses the Reverend that he cannot cure him until he

knows the pain upon his soul because that sin is part of his bodily

ailment. In a moment of passion, the Reverend blows up at him telling him

that he will reveal nothing to the earthly man and leaves the room. This

display of passion makes Mr. Chillingworth exceptionally pleased because it

brings him closer to finding out that his suspicions of Hester and the

Reverend are true.

Chapter 11: As the days went by the Reverend Dimmesdale continued to be

haunted more and more by the sin upon his soul. He would look upon his

companion the physician with disgust and feel as if the black part of his

heart was spilling over into the rest of his life. The people of the town

began to worship him more, saying he was a wonderful and saintly young

preacher. As they looked up to him with greater fervor, he began to hate

himself more. Many a time he stood on his pulpit aching to tell them of

his sin, release it from his heart. However, all he could manage to say

was that he was a terrible sinner, which only inspired his congregation

more because they saw him as virtually flawless. He fasted, prayed, and

kept vigils in order to purge himself, but the sin upon his soul haunted

him without end.

Chapter 12: It was midnight and Reverend Dimmesdale was so tortured by his

sin that he took himself out and stood upon the scaffold that Hester had

stood. He planned to stay there all night suffering from his own shame.

At one point he cried out hoping in his mind to wake the whole town so they

could see him standing there, so his sin could finally be revealed and his

mind eased. However, no one in the town was awakened by his cry. At one

point from his perch, he saw the Pastor John Winston walking towards him,

but the man was wrapped up tightly in his cloak and did not notice the

Reverend on the scaffold.

His mind wandered to what he would look like in the morning when his body

was frozen with cold, and at the image of himself in his mind, he laughed.

His laugh was returned by a sprightly laugh in the darkness that was none

other than Pearl’s. He cried out to her in the night, and to Hester. They

appeared having been out measuring a robe for a man who had died that

evening. At the Reverend’s request, they came to stand upon the scaffold

with him and they joined hands in their sin. Pearl asked the Reverend

repeatedly if he would come stand with them on the scaffold the next day at

noon, but the Dimmesdale refused. Out of the darkness, Mr. Chillingworth

appeared, and the Reverend spoke his fear and hatred of the man. He asked

who he really was, and because of her oath, Hester kept her silence. Pearl

whispered gibberish to him in revenge for him not standing with them the

next day on the scaffold. The Reverend looked up into the sky and saw a

meteor trail that looked like a large red ‘A’ leering at him. Mr.

Chillingworth told him to come home and he left the scaffold with the

evilly happy physician.

Chapter 13: Seven years had passed since little Pearl’s birth. The letter

on Hester’s chest to the village people had become a symbol of her good

deeds. It set her apart from the general population, but many looked on

her as a sister of charity. When someone was in need she was always the

one by his or her side. Many people in town said the A stood for able.

She had changed. She was an empty form, void of the passion and love that

people were able to see in her before.

Her luxurious hair was always hidden from the sight of the people. After

the minister’s vigil, Hester found a new cause for sacrifice, a new

purpose. She decided to talk to the old physician, her former husband, and

try to save his victim from further mental torture. After making her

decision, she came upon him as he was walking the peninsula.

Chapter 14: Hester instructed Pearl to go run and play and she went to a

pool and saw herself there. Hester accosted Mr. Chillingworth and he began

telling her of all the good things the people in the town had said about

her. The leaders in the town at the last council meeting had even thought

about admitting Hester to take the letter off her bosom. Hester told him

that if the Lord meant her to take it off her chest that it would have

fallen off long ago. While they began talking, Hester took a good look at

him. In the past seven years he had aged well, but there was a strikingly

different look about him. He wore a guarded look of an eager angry man who

was out for revenge.

They began talking about the minister and Mr. Chillingworth reveals that

had it not been for his care, the minister would have died long ago.

Hester asks if he has not had enough revenge since he was able to torture

the minister every day by burying into his heart. He answers no, that it

will never be enough. Hester tells him that she plans on revealing his

secret to the minister and he tells her that neither of them are sinful and

evil, they just must lead the lives that they were given because of her

sin. They say farewell, and Hester leaves him to gathering herbs.

Chapter 15: Hester watches him for a while from a distance disgusted at the

evil she sees in him. She turns to find little Pearl who was playing with

all the different things in nature. When Pearl goes back to her mother,

Hester sees that the child has made a letter A out of seaweed and placed it

on her chest. Hester asks the child if she knows what the letter her

mother wears means. Pearl answers that it is the same reason the minister

keeps his hand over his chest.

That is all she knows however, and she asks earnestly why she wears the

scarlet letter, and why the minister places his hand over his heart. Ever

since she was little, Pearl had a certain fascination with the letter that

tortured her mother even more. Hester decided it was better to not

unburden her sin upon her child and told her daughter that it meant

nothing. After that day however, Pearl would ask her mother two or three

times a day what the scarlet letter meant.

Chapter 16: : Hester learned that the Minister had gone into the woods to

visit a friend who lived among the Indians. She learned when he was

expected to return, and when the day came, she and Pearl went into the

forest so she could catch him on his return and speak with him in private.

As they enter the forest, Pearl says that she can stand in the sunlight,

but the sunlight runs away from Hester. In response, Hester reaches out to

touch the stream of light that flocks around the little elf-child, and it

vanishes when her hand comes near. Pearl then asks her mother for a story

about the black man who inhabits the forest, which she over heard a woman

the previous evening talking about. Pearl said that people went into the

forest and signed the Black man’s book with their blood and that she heard

the scarlet letter was the black man’s mark on her mother. They traveled

into the deep into the forest and stopped next to a little brook that Pearl

began playing around. After a while, they saw the Reverend Dimmesdale come

walking slowly down the path, and Hester tells Pearl to run and play.

Chapter 17: Hester calls out to the Minister and he instantly straightens

up and looks towards her. He finds out it is she and they inquire on how

their lives have been in the last seven years. They sit down together on a

log, and ask each other if they have found peace. The minister expresses

his sadness and how he feels like a hypocrite teaching others to be holy,

when he himself has a terrible hidden sin. Hester tries to help him by

talking with him and caring for him. He thanks her for her friendship.

She then tells him of Roger Chillingsworth, how he is her husband, and out

for revenge. Dimmesdale is horrified but knew that something was wrong

with Roger Chillingworth. Hester could not take the frown that descended

upon his face, and asked him if he forgave her. He has, and she asks if he

remembers what they had. She hints that they once had a great passion and

affection for each other. Hester talks of them leaving together. Arthur

says he has not the strength to travel that far, but with Hester helping

him, they thought they could do it.

Chapter 18: Together they decide to leave the New World together and not

torture themselves further with their sin so that only God will judge them.

To them, they are damned already. Hester unhooks her scarlet letter and

tosses it by the bubbling brook. They make plans together and say that

they will leave for England on the ship that is in the harbor. Talking of

their love and their plans, they call back Pearl, for once happy and with

lifted spirits. Pearl is off in the forest playing and interacting with

the animals. When they call her back, Pearl comes slowly when she sees

them sitting together.

Chapter 19: They sat there looking at Pearl as she approached. She had

adorned herself with wild flowers and looked like a fairy child. They

rejoiced in their child as she came towards him, and Arthur was

exceptionally afraid and anxious for the interview. Pearl stopped at the

brook and stared at them. The child pointed at her mother with a frown.

Hester called out to her harshly to come and Pearl began screaming and

throwing a tantrum. Hester realized that the child was upset that her

scarlet letter was not affixed to her mother’s breast. She walked over to

where it lay on the ground and showed it to the child. She pinned it back

into place, and Pearl was pacified and happy again. They approached the

minister and the three of them held hands, and they tried to explain to her

that they were all going to be a happy family. The minister kissed Pearl’s

forehead and she ran quickly to the brook to try to wash it away.

Chapter 20: Arthur Dimmesdale walked home happily. For the first time in

seven years, there was a bounce in his step and a light in his hurting

heart. On his way, he saw some of his parishioners and he had thoughts of

corruption on his mind. He thought about the reaction he would get if he

whispered corrupting things in their ears. There are three different

people he runs into in which he feels this. He resists the temptation to

do this, and wonders why he is having these thoughts. He wonders if he

Страницы: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33

2012 © Все права защищены
При использовании материалов активная ссылка на источник обязательна.