The Scarlet Letter | Study Guide

Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Course Hero. "The Scarlet Letter Study Guide." July 28, 2016. Accessed July 18, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Scarlet-Letter/.

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Course Hero, "The Scarlet Letter Study Guide," July 28, 2016, accessed July 18, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Scarlet-Letter/.

Chapter 22 | The Procession

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of chapter 22 of Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter.

The Scarlet Letter | Chapter 22 : The Procession | Summary

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Summary

The honored officials enter with Dimmesdale among them. He looks so strong that Pearl doesn't recognize him. He does not even glance in Hester's direction. His behavior causes her great distress. Mistress Hibbins comments that Dimmesdale will soon reveal that he carries the Black Man's mark on his chest. Hester's agitation increases when people stare at the scarlet letter on her chest. Meanwhile they look at Dimmesdale as if he were a saint. Hester awaits Dimmesdale's sermon.

Analysis

Mistress Hibbins's remark foreshadows the climax of the novel when Dimmesdale rips aside his shirt and reveals what is (or is not) on his chest.

The chapter highlights once again the differential treatment of Hester and the minister despite their shared guilt. Hester, who confessed her sin and has endured her long punishment with dignity, is scorned, while Dimmesdale, who has concealed his sin, is celebrated and even worshipped. Further, Hester had redeemed herself by her actions, by unselfishly helping members of the community, while Dimmesdale has lived a life of hypocrisy and heartache—as he had predicted back in Chapter 3 would affect the unnamed father.

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