Chapter 21 Notes from The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter Chapter 21

It is the morning of the Election Sermon, as the townspeople begin to gather in the town square--among them, Hester and Pearl. Hester's face is an almost deathlike pale mask.

Topic Tracking: Red 9

Pearl wonders about the reason for the holiday and Hester explains that everyone is here to see the procession pass to the Church. Pearl asks if the minister will be there, and Hester says he will.

"'What a strange, sad man is he!' said the child, as if speaking partly to herself. 'In the dark night-time he calls us to him, and holds thy hand and mine, as when we stood with him on the scaffold yonder. And in the deep forest, where only the old trees can hear, and the strip of sky see it, he talks with thee, sitting on a heap of moss! And he kisses my forehead, too, so that the little brook would hardly wash it off! But here, in the sunny day, and among all the people, he knows us not; nor must we know him! A strange, sad man is he, with his hand always over his heart!'" Chapter 21, pg. 209.

Topic Tracking: Truth 7

Hester directs Pearl's attention to the festivities. The Puritan election is somewhat more than a simple election, it is also a dignified celebration of a new political year for the young Puritan government. Everyone in town comes out to celebrate the election.

Topic Tracking: Law 9

Included in the crowd are a number of sailors from the Spanish boat currently in Port. The commander of the boat is seen speaking privately with Chillingworth. The commander then approaches Hester, who is standing alone, and informs her that Chillingworth has requested passage on the boat along with Hester, Pearl and Dimmesdale.

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