The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Dimmesdale decides to flee Boston with Hester. He calls her his "angel" and says he's been renewed. Hester flings away her scarlet letter and feels an enormous swell of relief.
In the forest, free from the pressures of Puritan society, Dimmesdale and Hester escape their sins and are free to love.
Themes
Sin Theme Icon
Individuality and Conformity Theme Icon
Puritanism Theme Icon
Dimmesdale and Hester discuss Pearl, whom Hester says she barely understands. Pearl, meanwhile, has been playing alone in the forest, where she fits in well among the wild animals. Hester calls her to come meet Dimmesdale, her father.
Unity with nature shows purity. The implication is that Pearl, and therefore her parents' affair, are not sinful against God. They only sin against Puritanism.
Themes
Sin Theme Icon
Nature Theme Icon