end of chapter 18 and begining of chapter 19
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Dimmesdale and Hester plan to escape to Europe. For a brief time, they actually look happy. Dimmesdale declares that he can feel joy once again, and Hester rips the scarlet letter from her chest. The act is a cleansing that Hester has waited for the right moment to do. With her stigma gone, Hester begins to look like her former self. She lets down her hair and smiles; this is really the first time that we ever see her without the shackles of her Puritan nightmare. We also actually see sunlight pour into the forest. Pearl is summoned and there is talk of the three being a family again. This interlude of happiness is, of course, brief.