The Scarlet Letter

As Hester had once done, Dimmesdale ascends the scaffold. Explain the following events and its significance.

A. Dimmesdale's Scream B. Meteor light C. Hester and Pearl joining him

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Hester and Pearl Joining him-This had never happened before. There is a sense of acceptance, forgiveness and solidarity.

Meteor light- call it a signal from God that something profound would happen.

Scream- he pain in his breast causes him to scream aloud. THis is the beginning of his moral,spiritual and personal purging of his poison.

All is revealed and redeemed in Dimmesdale's final act of confession upon the scaffold. He reveals the scarlet letter that he has imprinted in his own flesh, finally shedding light on his own sin, on his own shame that he could hardly bear. In doing so, he sets Hester and Pearl free, and he dies knowing that morality will live in the body of his young child. Chillingworth, meanwhile, is sabotaged, having lost the body on which he has preyed, and having lost a soul which he believed would never reveal its goodness. As a result, Chillingworth's potency vanishes as well, and it is no surprise that he dies soon after.

Of all the characters, Pearl probably changes most from this revelation. She has gone from a child of lust and shame to a child of passion to a child of love and morality (in the confession of imperfection), now basking in the sunlight of truth and in the unconditional love among mother, father, and child. We will learn that Pearl goes on to have a beautiful, happy life, in which she marries and keeps her mother close to her heart, without the ill effects of her torturous early life. She is now our moral compass, pointing towards truth, for it is truth, worn not as a badge of shame, but as a badge of acknowledgment of the realities of human imperfections in spite of human dignity, that will ward off the evil of the puritanical culture of shame.