Chapter 16 Notes from The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter Chapter 16

Hester finally meets with Mr. Dimmesdale in the woods to reveal the secret identity of Chillingworth to him. She plans to meet him as he returns from a visit to a local Indian village. As she and Pearl walk deeper into the woods, the sun continues to dart away ahead of them:

"'Mother,' said little Pearl, 'the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom. Now see! There it is, playing a good way off. Stand you here, and let me run and catch it. I am but a child. It will not flee from me, for I wear nothing on my bosom yet!' 'Nor ever will, my child, I hope,' said Hester. 'And why not, mother?' asked Pearl, stopping short, just at the beginning of her race. 'Will not it come of its own accord, when I am a woman grown?' 'Run away, child,' answered her mother, 'and catch the sunshine! It will soon be gone.'" Chapter 16, pg. 168.

Pearl then asks Hester about the Black Man, to whom people come at night in the forest and sign their names in blood in his big book.

"'But mother, tell me now! Is there such a Black Man? And didst thou ever meet him? And is this his mark?'....'Once in my life I met the Black Man!' said her mother. 'This scarlet letter is his mark!'" Chapter 16, pg. 170.

At last Hester sees Dimmesdale approaching and tells Pearl to go off to play. She runs to a nearby babbling brook that Pearl remarked earlier is telling a very sorrowful story, and she tries to sing along with a happier story. Hester approaches the minister and notices how, in him, "Death was too definite an object to be wished for or avoided." Chapter 16, pg. 173.

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