The Scarlet Letter - Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 17 Summary

Hester approaches the Reverend Dimmesdale in the forest. At first meeting, both of them think the other is some kind of shade, apparition or ghost. Has Hester found peace? She answers by looking down on the letter. He has found only despair. But Hester attempts to refute his despair. Has he not found people who need and respect him? Yes, but it just makes him feel worse, as a hypocrite and a sinner.

She chides him for this. He tells her that in some way the letter is a blessing for her sin is an open secret, but his burns in solitary. It is "all falsehood!- all emptiness!-all death!" Touchingly, she tells him she, his partner in sin, is his friend. But now she reveals to him the enmity of Chillingworth. She tells him that he was her husband.

In his heart, the...

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This section contains 352 words
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The Scarlet Letter from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.