The Scarlet Letter Chapters 1-4 Study Guide

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Identify the following characters explaining their role in the story:

Hester Prynne
Reverend Dimmesdale
Roger Chillingworth
Anne Hutchinson

Answer the following questions according to the content of chapters 1-4 of the novel.

1.  What symbol grows outside of the town’s prison?  What seems to be its symbolic nature? 
2.  What is the scaffold of pillory; how is the object important to the story?
3.  Why are the town’s people gathered at the the town’s common?
4.  What is adorned on the clothing of Hester Prynne’s bosom?
5.  How does Hester’s appearance bring her further contempt?
6.  What is the scaffold of pillory?
7.  Why are the women particularly critical of Hester?

Identify the following quotes by indicating what chapter and page number the quote is located on and explaining the significance of the quote to the plot of the story:

8.  “By the Indian’s side, and evidently sustaining a companionship with him, stood a white man, clad in a strange disarray of civilized and savage costume.”

9.  “…The penalty thereof is death. But, in their great mercy and tenderness of heart, they have doomed Mistress Prynne to stand only a space of three hours on the platform of the pillory, and then and thereafter, for the remainder of her natural life, to wear a mark of shame upon her bosom.”

10.  “Never!” replied Hester Prynne, looking, not at Mr. Wilson, but into the deep and troubled eyes of the younger clergyman. “It is too deeply branded. Ye cannot take it off. And would that I might endure his agony, as well as mine!”

11.  “Thou knowest that I was frank with thee.  I felt no love, nor feigned any.”

12.  “Hast thou enticed me into a bond that will prove the ruin of my soul?”
“Why do you smile at me like that?” asked Hester, troubled by the look in his eyes. “Are you like the Black Man that haunts the forest? Have you lured me into a promise that will cost me my soul?”
“Not thy soul,” he answered, with another smile. “No, not thine!”

The Scarlet Letter Comprehension and Analysis