How sincerely concerned are the townspeople of Salem for the souls of Hester and Pearl?
They were not sincerely concerned, they were just looking for someone to serve as the scapegoat (someone they can use as an example).
Compare the Governor's garden with gardens in Old England. What is significant about the difference?
It is more practical, with cabbages and pumpkin vines, that ornate, like the gardens in Old England. The ornamental pieces have not taken root and blossomed. The practical ideas (Puritan views) are all that have taken shape in the New World, they couldn't successfully transplant the ideals of the Old World.
How is Pearl dressed, and what is her dress compared to?
Pearl is wearing a scarlet dress with gold embroidery. She is compared to the living version of the scarlet letter.
Where else have we seen a rosebush in this novel? What was its significance then?
We saw a rosebush by the entrance to the prison and it symbolized hope.
Explain the Puritan attitude toward luxury and how Governor Bellingham and the Reverend John Wilson responded to it.
Puritans claimed to not believe in luxury and were suppose to abstain from it. However, though professionally Bellingham and Wilson speak against it, they both enjoy luxuries in their own homes and lives. They are living a double life and could be considered hypocrites.
How do the magistrates react to Pearl and why?
The magistrates are shocked because they believe Hester is raising Pearl in defiance of proper manners.
How does Hester behave towards the magistrates and why?
She acts desperate, getting rid of any dignity she has left. She even says she would rather die than lose Pearl. She does this to prove she can be a good mother to Pearl and keep her.
Why does Hester feel that Dimmesdale should speak on her behalf?
She says he was her pastor and in charge of her soul, therefore he should know her better than the other men.
Why would Hawthorne have Pearl perform such an uncharacteristically tender action?
Hawthorne shows throughout the novel that people are connected and here he is showing us that there is some sort of a connection between Dimmesdale and Pearl after Dimmesdale speaks on behalf of Hester and Pearl.
What does Chillingsworth notes about Dimmedale's defense of Hester?
Chillingsworth says that Dimmesdale spoke with a strange earnestness.
Describe how Dimmesdale has changed since Hester's public punishment.
Dimmesdale health and physical appearance have deteriorated. He has a nervous demeanor, more than before.
Describe how Chillingsworth has changed over the last few years.
Chillingsworth's features have gotten uglier and his complexion has gotten darker.
What would physiognomy suggest about Dimmesdale and Chillingsworth?
Chillingsworth is getting more evil as time progresses. Dimmesdale is plagued by something, possibly guilt, that is causing his decline.
Why would Hawthorne want to include Mistress Hibbins as a minor character in this book?
Hibbons, as a witch, is offering Hester friendship and Hester refuses, showing us how devoted Hester is to being a Christian, even though everyone has ostracized her.
Why doesn't Chillingsworth assert his rights as Hester's husband?
When he arrived at the colony, Hester was being punished for adultery. If he asserts his rights, he will be dishonored as well just for being her husband.
A difference of opinion arises over the cause of Dimmesdale's failing health. Compare the townspeople's opinion to Dimmesdale's.
The townspeople think he is ill because he is too devoted to his religious studies and work. He thinks he is being punished by God because he is unfit to fulfill his mission here on Earth.
Why does Dimmesdale reject Chillingsworth's offer of help? What finally persuades him to accept the offer?
Dimmedale believes his condition to be spiritual and therefore no earthly doctor can help. He felt guilty for continually turning away an offer for help and possibly didn't want Chillingsworth to become more suspicious, so he accepted his help.
Explain the ambiguity of the chapter's title, "The Leech."
Leech is a bad term for someone - there are two prominent characters in this chapter so we don't know who the leech is referring to.
The passage sets up an interesting contrast between two types of men. What is this contrast, and how is it likely to shape the future of the novel?
Chillingsworth is a man of science whereas Dimmesdale is a man of faith. While Dimmesdale has been taught to accept everything, Chillingsworth has been taught to question everything. In the future, we are likely to see more of Chillingsworth questioning Dimmesdale's actions.
Describe Chillingsworth's method for treating illness.
He acts as more of a psychologist towards Dimmesdale, even through actual use of herbs, everything he does is for the purpose of seeing how Dimmesdale reacts.
Describe the relationship between Dimmesdale and Chillingsworth.
There is an intellectual intimacy. As Chillingsworth probes at Dimmesdale's heart and soul, Dimmesdale is attracted to Chillingsworth's liberal views.
Some people in the community feel that God has sent Chillingsworth to heal their minister, but other people have a different view. Explain the second view about Chillingsworth.
Some people believed that he was Satan, or there on behalf of Satan, to plot against Dimmesdal'e soul.
How do the people explain "the gloom and terror in the depths of the poor minister's eyes"?
They think he is being haunted by the devil (Chillingsworth).
What is suggested by the names Chillingsworth and Dimmesdale?
Chillingsworth has the world chilling in it which relates to fear. Dimmesdale has the word dim in it which relates to a loss of light (life).