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The Scarlet Letter: Novel Summary: Chapters 10-11

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Chapter 10: Mr. Chillingworth watched the Reverend searching him for the secret sin of his soul.  Searching for Hester's lover became the secret purpose of his life and it clouded his head and heart.  Slowly he was trying to get the Reverend to confess to the deed, and one afternoon began a discussion with him about unconfessed sin and how it eats away at the soul.  While they are talking, they see Hester and Pearl in the cemetery.  They look up at the men in the window and they wonder if the mischevious nymph like, Pearl, is true evil.  After the woman and the child leave the cemetery, the men continue with their conversation.  Mr. Chillingworth accuses the Reverend that he cannot cure him until he knows the pain upon his soul because that sin is part of his bodily ailment.  In a moment of passion, the Reverend blows up at him telling him that he will reveal nothing to the earthly man and leaves the room.  This display of passion makes Mr. Chillingworth exceptionally pleased because it brings him closer to finding out that his suspicions of Hester and the Reverend are true.
Chapter 11: As the days went by the Reverend Dimmesdale continued to be haunted more and more by the sin upon his soul. He would look upon his companion the physician with disgust and feel as if the black part of his heart was spilling over into the rest of his life.  The people of the town began to worship him more, saying he was a wonderful and saintly young preacher.  As they looked up to him with greater fervor, he began to hate himself more.  Many a time he stood on his pulpit aching to tell them of his sin, release it from his heart.  However, all he could manage to say was that he was a terrible sinner, which only inspired his congregation more because they saw him as virtually flawless.  He fasted, prayed, and kept vigils in order to purge himself, but the sin upon his soul haunted him without end. 




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