The Scarlet Letter: Novel Summary: Chapters 12-13

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Chapter 12: It was midnight and Reverend Dimmesdale was so tortured by his sin that he took himself out and stood upon the scaffold that Hester had stood.  He planned to stay there all night suffering from his own shame.  At one point he cried out hoping in his mind to wake the whole town so they could see him standing there, so his sin could finally be revealed and his mind eased.  However, no one in the town was awakened by his cry.  At one point from his perch, he saw the Pastor John Winston walking towards him, but the man was wrapped up tightly in his cloak and did not notice the Reverend on the scaffold.  His mind wandered to what he would look like in the morning when his body was frozen with cold, and at the image of himself in his mind, he laughed.  His laugh was returned by a sprightly laugh in the darkness that was none other than Pearl's.  He cried out to her in the night, and to Hester.  They appeared having been out measuring a robe for a man who had died that evening.  At the Reverend's request, they came to stand upon the scaffold with him and they joined hands in their sin.  Pearl asked the Reverend repeatedly if he would come stand with them on the scaffold the next day at noon, but the Dimmesdale refused.  Out of the darkness, Mr. Chillingworth appeared, and the Reverend spoke his fear and hatred of the man.  He asked who he really was, and because of her oath, Hester kept her silence.  Pearl whispered gibberish to him in revenge for him not standing with them the next day on the scaffold.  The Reverend looked up into the sky and saw a meteor trail that looked like a large red 'A' leering at him.  Mr. Chillingworth told him to come home and he left the scaffold with the evilly happy physician. 
Chapter 13: Seven years had passed since little Pearl's birth. The letter on Hester's chest to the village people had become a symbol of her good deeds.  It set her apart from the general population, but many looked on her as a sister of charity.  When someone was in need she was always the one by his or her side.  Many people in town said the A stood for able.  She had changed.  She was an empty form, void of the passion and love that people were able to see in her before.  Her luxurious hair was always hidden from the sight of the people.  After the minister's vigil, Hester found a new cause for sacrifice, a new purpose.  She decided to talk to the old physician, her former husband, and try to save his victim from further mental torture.  After making her decision, she came upon him as he was walking the peninsula. 

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