In ch. 22
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Hester's location, directly next to the scaffold, is the strongest indicator that the climactic revelations will occur in this hallowed place where sins are revealed and punished. Hester is ready to finally let her secret be revealed. Soon Dimmesdale will join her, but no longer as the Reverend Minister with the power to condemn and guide, but simply as a man hoping for forgiveness. Reverend Dimmesdale has a terrible time, it seems, shedding his identity as spiritual leader and moral compass of the community. But, in a defiant act, he will transfer the role of “moral blossom” to Pearl.
Pearl tells her mother that she wants to ask him to kiss her in broad daylight, at which point Hester tells Pearl to hush.