The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Questions and Answers
Q.1. What is the name of the main character of The Scarlet Letter?
Ans. The name of the main character in the book The Scarlet Letter is Hester. She wears the scarlet letter.
Q.2. What genre is the book The Scarlet Letter?
Ans. The book The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is considered historical fiction that is both symbolic and semi-allegorical. It takes place in Boston, Massachusetts in the middle of the 17th century.
Q.3. Who is the author of The Scarlet Letter?
Ans. The Scarlet Letter was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850.
Q.4. What reaction does Pearl have towards Chillingworth when she sees him with Rev?
Ans. When Pearl meets Arthur Dimmesdale she holds up her arms to him whereas when Roger Chillingworth spots her, she cries out in pain.
Q.5. What do darkness and light symbolize in The Scarlet Letter?
Ans. Light is used throughout the novel to highlight or point out aspects of characters, illuminating their intentions and thoughts, as well as their inner qualities. “Darkness” seems to be reserved for everything that is outside of the town, including sinners like Hester who are considered outcasts and forced to live on the outskirts of town in the woods.
Q.6. What time period did the novel The Scarlet Letter take place?
Ans. The novel is set in 17th-century Puritan Boston.
Q.7. What in the in the Scarlet Letter who does Hester talk to at the Seashore and why?
Ans: When Hester goes to the seashore to talk to Chillingworth, she tells Pearl to go to the margin of the water and play with the shells and tangled sea- weed”(154). She heads to the seashore to talk to Chillingsworth about their marriage.
Q.8. What happens to Pearl at the end of the scarlet letter?
Ans. No one hears from Pearl again, but it is assumed that she has gotten married and has had children in Europe.
Q.9. Discuss the relationship between the scarlet letter and Hester’s identity.
Ans. For Hester, to remove the scarlet letter would be to acknowledge the power it has in determining who she is. The letter would prove to have successfully restricted her if she were to become a different person in its absence.
Q.10. Why does she repeatedly refuse to stop wearing the letter?
Ans. Hester chooses to continue to wear the letter because she is determined to transform its meaning through her actions and her own self-perception–she wants to be the one who controls its meaning.
Q.11. What is the difference between the identity she creates for herself and the identity society assigns to her?
Ans. Society tries to reclaim the letter’s symbolism by deciding that the “A” stands for “Able,” but Hester resists this interpretation. The letter symbolizes her own past deed and her own past decisions, and she is the one who will determine the meaning of those events.
Q.12. What kind of change you find in Hester at the end of the novel upon her return from Europe?
Ans. Upon her return from Europe at the novel’s end, Hester has gained control over both her personal and her public identities. She has made herself into a symbol of feminine repression and charitable ideals, and she stands as a self-appointed reminder of the evils society can commit.
Q.14. In what ways could The Scarlet Letter be read as a commentary on the era of American history it describes?
Ans. Typically, America is conceptualized as a place of freedom, where a person’s opportunities are limited only by his or her ambition and ability–and not by his or her social status, race, gender, or other circumstances of birth.
Q.15. This novel makes extensive use of symbols. Discuss the difference between the Puritans’ use of symbols (the meteor, for example) and the way that the narrator makes use of symbols Do both have religious implications?
Ans. The Puritans in this book are constantly seeking out natural symbols, which they claim are messages from God. Yet those characters are not willing to accept any revelation at face value. They interpret the symbols only in ways that confirm their own preformulated ideas or opinions.
Q.16. How does the narrator describe the governor’s garden?
Ans. The governor’s garden, which Hester and Pearl see in Chapter 7, illustrates his tactic quite well. The narrator does not describe the garden in a way that reinforces the image of luxury and power that is present in his description of the rest of the governor’s house.
Q.17. How would you justify the absence of any flower other than the thorny roses in the governor’s garden?
Ans. The absence of any flowers other than the thorny roses also hints that ideals are often accompanied by evil and pain. Confronted by the ambiguous symbol of the garden, we begin to look for other inconsistencies and for other examples of decay and disrepair in Puritan society.
Q.18. Who is Hester?
Ans. Hester Prynne is the book’s protagonist and the wearer of the scarlet letter that gives the book its title.
Q.19. Is Dimmesdale ashamed of his guilt?
Ans. Dimmesdale is one of those individuals who secretly practices self-flagellation (basically, beating himself) to punish himself for his sin. This suggests that he is susceptible to shame, but secretive about it; he prefers to punish himself rather than to be punished by others.
Q.20. How does the experience of Hester and Dimmesdale recalls the story of Adam and Eve?
Ans. The experience of Hester and Dimmesdale recalls the story Adam and Eve because, in both cases, sin results in expulsion and suffering. But it also results in knowledge-specifically, in knowledge of what it means to be human.
Q.21. How is Hester in the novel?
Ans. Throughout The Scarlet Letter Hester is portrayed as an intelligent, capable, but not necessarily extraordinary woman. It is the extraordinary circumstances shaping her that make her such an important figure.
Q.22. What is the similarity between the character of Hester and Dimmesdale?
Ans. Arthur Dimmesdale, like Hester Prynne, is an individual whose identity owes more to external circumstances than to his innate nature.
Q.23. What is the importance of Pearl in the story?
Ans: Hester’s daughter, Pearl, functions primarily as a symbol. She is quite young during most of the events of this novel-when Dimesdale dies she is only seven years old and her real importance lies in her ability to provoke the adult characters in the book.
Q.24. What is the symbolic significance of the Scarlet Letter?
Ans. The scarlet letter is meant to be a symbol of shame, but instead it becomes a powerful symbol of identity to Hester. The letter’s meaning shifts as time passes.
Q.25. What is the similarity between Pearl and the scarlet letter?
Ans. Like Pearl, the letter functions as a physical reminder of Hester’s affair with Dimmesdale. But, compared with a human child, the letter seems insignificant, and thus helps to point out the ultimate meaninglessness of the community’s system of judgment and punishment.
Q.26. What is the symbolic significance of Pearl?
Ans. Although Pearl is a complex character, her primary function within the novel is as a symbol. Pearl is a sort of living version of her mother’s scarlet letter. She is the physical consequence of sexual sin and the indicator of a transgression. Yet, even as a reminder of Hester’s “sin,” Pearl is more than a mere punishment to her mother she is also a blessing.
Q.27. Discuss the symbolic significance of rosebush?
Ans. The rosebush symbolizes the ability of nature to endure and outlast man’s activities. Yet, paradoxically, it also symbolizes the futility of symbolic interpretation
Q.28. Who is the antagonist of the story?
Ans. Roger Chillingworth is the primary antagonist, an enemy of both Hester and Reverend Dimmesdale. Upon finding that his wife has committed adultery, he seeks revenge through tormenting her lover psychologically.
Q.29. Discuss the style of Hawthorne.
Ans. The style sounded archaic and all the people spoke alike. This wasn’t natural speech. Everything that was said was like prose. Hawthorne used a lot of figurative language. All these things together made the reading difficult and slow.
Q.30. What is the view of townspeople for Dimmesdale?
Ans. Arthur Dimmesdale is a man of God and a spiritual leader of the townspeople. He speaks about the nature of man and of the man’s relationship to God. He is revered by all for the passionate way in which he delivers his sermons, and people look to him as their moral compass.
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