The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
It's inauguration day for the new governor. Hester and Pearl await the procession of government officials, and stand near a bunch of Indians ("painted barbarians") and some crew members ("desperadoes") from the vessel that Hester will board with Dimmesdale.
The derogatory descriptions of the Indians and crew members make clear the intolerance of the Puritans toward outsiders.
Themes
Puritanism Theme Icon
The narrator remarks that the Puritan style of celebration lacks the grandness and gaiety that events like this had in England.
Puritans are always depicted in the novel as somber and severe.
Themes
Puritanism Theme Icon
Chillingworth walks over to and converses with the commander of the vessel bound for England. The commander leaves his side and walks by Hester. He recognizes her and says that Chillingworth will also be aboard the ship. Hester looks across the crowd and sees Chillingworth smile menacingly at her.
Chillingworth has been devoured by hate and the need for revenge. He is no longer human. His secrets and lies in the service of righteous revenge have made him worse than any "witch."
Themes
Sin Theme Icon
Individuality and Conformity Theme Icon
The Occult Theme Icon