I chose "Otherside" by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers to represent how Dimmesdale's guilt controls his life. In the chorus lyrics, "I got to take it on the other side" is repeated frequently and that really reminds me of how Dimmesdale feels he will carry this sin on to be judged by God and how this haunts him constantly. Also when Anthony Kiedis sings about a girl who "wants to know 'am I still a slut?'" it is like Hester questioning her virtue. Hester is once again mentioned as "the scarlet starlet" who sleeps with the singer with "I got to take it on the other side" following that shows Dimmesdale's guilt for committing adultery with Hester.
The overall mood of guilt and self-punishment in this song make up a majority of Dimmesdale's character. This mood only really ends for him when he confesses. After he confessed he finally felt as though he would get his deserved punishment beyond that f the self-inflicted. I think that Dimmesdale felt like he could die because God would give him righteous punishment and society perhaps wouldn't have been harsh enough.
The idea of guilt is heavily emphazied in The Scarlet Letter by many people but I think Dimmesdale really represents it, even his name is dark and depressing. Guilt is so heavy a force upon him that it is what eventually kills him even after he confesses.
Here is a game inspired by The Scarlet Letter that models Marco Polo. The instructions are below, the game can be played by as many people as you wish.
1. One person is choosen to be Hester, they should carry a scarlet A. Everyone else are Pearl's.
2. The Pearl's hide away from Hester who is counting to ten with their eyes closed.
3. Once Hester reaches ten, they yell out "Little Pearl where are you?" and the Pearl's respond "Here I am Mother!"
4. Hester continues to yell and upon finding a Pearl, they get tagged and are out. This continues until all the Pearl's are found.
5. When the last Pearl is found, they become the new Hester and the bearer of the scarlet letter.
The scene that inspired this game is in chapter 18 when Hester and Dimmesdale are in the woods and Hester calls out to Pearl, who refuses to cross the stream. Once Hester picks up the A all is well again, and Pearl goes to her and Mr. Dimmesdale. This is why the last player becomes the bearer of the A, because Pearl doesn't want to be around her Mother without the letter on.
Nathaniel Hawthorne really has this dark romantic stuff down. He sent chills down my spine during this passage:
"Nothing further passed between the mariner and and Hester Prynne. But at an instant, she beheld old Roger Chillingworth himself, standing in the remotest corner of the market place and smiling on her; a smile which - across the wide and bustling square and through all the talk and laughter, and various thoughts, moods, and interests of the crowd - conveyed secret and fearful meaning."
That last phrase, ("conveyed secret and fearful meaning") made me shiver like blizzard-cold weather. I just picture a severe looking old man with crazy eyebrows smiling like Chesire cat across a thousand people knowing he picked me out of the crowd. Poor Hester, she's going to be stuck on a boat with him for around three months. Maybe that was his plan, to scare her and Dimmesdale out of leaving or killing them both on the boat. This book just got really interesting. Until now I couldn't figure out the plot, but I have discovered it. The plot really has nothing to do with the scarlet letter, that is just motivation, the real problem is that two people who have committed adultery want to run away and Hester's husband is following them. Thus the real problem is to go or not to go. I for one am intrigued to see which one Hester and Dimmesdale choose. I think Hester will stay because she is still has guilt for her sin and feels that she deserves the letter, also she'll do anything to stay away from Chillingworth. Dimmesdale on the other hand might still trust Chillingworth to go with him, and might just want to leave that much. I'm also curious if Dimmesdale still cares for Hester enough to try and give up everything for her or if he will give it up for himself. Will he love Hester or will he hide from judgment? Only time and a boat ride will tell.
While reading The Scarlet Letter I have found it has several connections to the characters to Winnie the Pooh. I think Mr. Dimmesdale is like Eeyore and Christopher Robin. He is Christopher Robin to his congregation, well revered and respected but he is like Eeyore too because he is constantly sad and has a really low self esteem. His enemy Roger Chillingworth is like Rabbit, narcissistic and mean. Even Rabbit has respect for Christopher Robin as Chillingworth has respect that side of Dimmesdale. Hester Prynne reminds me of Kenga, a loving mother whose whole life is centered around her child. Roo is similar to Pearl because they are booth full of life and can brighten anyone's day (even Eeyore's). I'm not sure who Winnie the Pooh is as they all have traits of this legendary character. Hester shares the fact that they both wear the color red in an iconic fashion. Pooh and Chillingworth are both obsessed with nature's goodness, honey and herbs for medicine. Mr Dimmesdale is also like Pooh because he is kind and cares for his congregation quite a lot and little Pearl is beautiful, young, and naive just like Pooh. This connection just helps me to relate how the characters in The Scarlett Letter interact because I can remember how the characters with certain traits interact in Winnie the Pooh.
This is the sermon I think Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale would give if he could. I tried to write it in a language style like the Puritan’s so please don’t judge me if it didn’t come across that way. I choose a pulpit in this post because its simplicity reminded me of a Puritan setting. This image is from weebly.com.
My Dearest Parishioners: today I confess. I have fallen away from the Lord in a way so disgraceful I plead day after day for undeserved condonation. “I, whom you behold in these black garments of the priesthood- I who ascend the sacred desk and turn my pale face heavenward, taking upon myself to hold communion, in your behalf, with the Most High Omniscience- I whose daily life you discern the sanctity of Enoch-I, whose footsteps, as you suppose, leave a gleam along my earthly track, whereby the pilgrims that shall come after me may be guided to the regions of the blest-I who have laid the hand of baptism upon your children-I, who have breathed the parting prayer over your dying friends, to whom the Amen sounded faintly from a world which they had quitted-I your pastor, whom you so reverence and trust, am utterly a pollution and a lie!” I have known a woman, a married woman. I have known her as I never should have! I betrayed my pulpit and my flock. Oh, my flock, I do not ask your forgiveness as I do not deserve it I wish only that you knew the truth of the heavily flawed and burdened man I am. I also wish to tell you that still I love God, with mine entire being and soul. I love thee more than life itself, even with my undeserving soul. I have turned from God but I still love thee, and you can too. Whilst my horrendous sin may not be forgiven yours can be, rejoice! Rejoice! You shall be saved, for your sin cannot out-weigh mine. I take full responsibility for the atrocity and welcome all blame upon my shoulders like an ox laden heavy with a yoke of sin.
So far, as you can tell from my word wall, there are a lot of words I don't know. But it isn't just the hard vocabulary and complicated sentence structure that makes this hard to read, I can't decipher what it's about. Where will Hester Prynne's journey take me? Will she ever see her "other man" again? Will her baby get named? There are already so many questions yet no plot has been established, I'd say that Nathaniel Hawthorne did a good job of confusing me in these chapters.
From all of Hawthorne's lengthy descriptions I have come to like Hester. She is very strong and brave for withstanding three hours on a podium for the whole town to see her beautifully sewn "A". I also wonder how she feels about her child. She must have some feelings for the father, as she is continuously hiding him from public scrutiny, but I wonder if she loves his baby as much as she loves him. And vice versa, does he "love that baby like he loves that lady?" (California Gurls by Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg)
sepulchres - a tomb or burial placeedifice-a building of large size or imposing character
condemnation- the state of being condemned
vivify- to give life, to animate
denote- to be a mark or sign of, indicate
fain- gladly, willingly
inquisitorial- of or pertaining to an inquisitor or inquisition
sable- Old World weasel-like mammal
progenitors- a biologically related ancestor
plebeian- belonging to the common people
typify- to serve as a typical example of
reviled- address or speak of abusively
purport- to present, often falsely
amenable - ready or willing to answer
imbibing- to consume by drinking
epoch- a period of time marked by events
state of being despondent; depression of spirits from loss of courage or hope;
infantile- characteristic of being an infant
abhorrence- utter loathing
odious- deserving or causing hatred
antipathy- a habitual aversion
replete- abundantly supplied
sedulous- diligent in application or attention
behest- a command
betwixt- Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. between.
lurid- horrible, revolting
propinquity- nearness in place
implore- to beg urgently
sere- dry, withered
* all defintions are from Dictionary.com