The Scarlet Letter

Describe the walk home. Who does Dimsdale meet? What do they symbolize? What is his reaction?

Scarlet Letter Chapter 20 (XX) The Minister in a maze

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Three times in a row he is approached by various people, and he struggles not to utter blasphemy. He is even tempted to teach dirty words to a group of small Puritan children. Dimmesdale can take no more of this Puritan hypocrisy that has been killing him.

Mistress Hibbins overhears him complain that he is haunted and tempted. She stops and asks Dimmesdale when he will be returning to the forest—so that she may join him. He tells her he is never going back, to which she replies that at midnight they will soon be together in the forest. She then departs, leaving Dimmesdale terrified of what he has done with Hester.