The Scarlet Letter - Study Guide Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

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Hester's sojourn in the Puritanical moral darkness has strengthened her objectivity and forced her into a critical scorn of her society. She no longer reveres the black garb of their clergy nor their cold magistrates nor their instruments of punishment. She has become an outsider. Arthur Dimmesdale, on the other hand, has been trapped within their world, receiving its honors and demanding his conformity to their system of justice. Still, he knows the alternative to escape is his only hope for happiness and he knows that he loves her. He dares, for a moment, to feel joy.

Both of them, having given themselves over to the pain of their sin, have become half-dead people. But, now, they can move forward and not look back. Hester flings her scarlet letter away. She takes off her cap and lets her dark hair flow about her shoulders.

They see Pearl...

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This section contains 265 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.