The Scarlet Letter Chapters 13-15 Summary

     After the last meeting with the clergyman, Hester is shocked by his mental state. She believes that beside his natural sense of conscience, something else has been imposed to him that affected his peace. Although the connection between her and the rest of the world is broken, she still feels that it is her duty to help. As years go by, Hester has an urge to help not only to the clergyman, but to everyone, asking nothing in return. She comes to those in need to be at hand until they no longer need her, when she silently retreats. Because of her altruism, people finally start noticing her virtues, even forgiving her for sinning. However, she does not enjoy her improved status in society, but rather questions the femininity- whether it is worth living as a woman in the world, even as the happiest one. The whole society has failed and the only way to make it functional is to reconstruct it from the scratch. The thoughts of justice bring her back to Mr. Dimmesdale and she realizes that he deserves to be protected from the physician, so she decides to find her former husband and ask him to leave the clergyman alone.

     Soon enough, while they were walking by the shore, Hester and Pearl run into Roger. Hester asks Pearl to step away while she has a conversation. The little girl immediately runs towards water and start playing in a weird way. She tries to summon her reflection in the water to play with her, and when that fails, she pesters sea animals and does not stop until she breaks a wing to a little bird. Meanwhile, Hester approaches Roger. He starts their conversation in a casual manner, by mentioning that nowadays everyone praise her, making him believe that it is time to take her scarlet letter off her chest. When Hester disagrees with his proposal, he replies ironically that she can wear it if she wants it, since it suits her well. She observes him carefully during the conversation, noticing the difference in his facial expressions, which denoted intelligence and reason once, unlike pure evil they denote now. After finding a proof on Roger's face, that his intentions with the clergyman are not honorable, she openly protests against his stalking of Mr. Dimmesdale. Playing naivety, Roger asks if there is any harm that he has done to Mr. Dimmesdale. He quickly shows his real intentions, as well as his real face, by saying that Mr. Dimmesdale has been complaining about sensing the presence of evil, unaware that the evil has been Roger personally. After Hester says that she will reveal his true identity to Mr. Dimmesdale, Roger becomes annoyed, saying that he feels pity for her. She replies that she feels the same for him, as he has become Satan. They end the conversation with sharp words and insulting words.

     Afterwards, Hester admits herself that she hates Roger, wondering how could she ever marry him. By watching him pluck the herbs, she hopes that the earth will poison him with its fruits. Refusing to think about him anymore, she turns to her daughter, who have made a letter "A" out of the green grass. Out of curiosity to find out whether the girl knows the truth about the scarlet mark, Hester asks her if she knows what the letter means, but the little girl gives a typical childish answer that is not even close to the truth. Determined to test her understanding, Hester keeps asking questions about the letter, but the girl answers equivocally, so it remains unclear whether she really understands the situation. However, by raising the question of the scarlet letter, Pearl becomes extremely curious about it, so she start pestering her mother to tell her all about it. Hester wonders if Pearl, with her undefined personality, is mature enough to understand the truth about the dishonoring mark on her chest, and decides it is not the moment to reveal the truth, so she explains that there are some things children should never think about. Unsatisfied with the answer, Pearl continue pestering her mother, until Hester becomes extremely annoyed and order her to keep her mouth closed before she locks her in "the dark closet."

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