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The Scarlet Letter: Novel Summary: Chapters 8-9

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Chapter 8: The Governor, the pastor John Wilson, Reverend Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth exited the garden to find their path blocked by the nymph Pearl.  Struck by the beauty of the scarlet clad child they ask her to whom she belongs.  She answers that she is Pearl, and her mother's child.  As they enter the hall, they see Mistress Prynne and are happy that she has come so they can discuss what to do with Pearl.  Testing to see whether the child has been properly instructed so far, the dotting John Winston asks young Pearl who made her.  Pearl, though she knew the correct answer was the Heavenly Father answered that she had been plucked by her mother from the rose bush by the prison door.  The gentlemen were appalled by the child's answer and decided that Hester should not raise her further.  Hester was angry with this and pleaded Reverend Dimmesdale who knew she was capable of guiding the child spiritually to let her keep Pearl.  She argued that God gave her Pearl, and that they could not take away the only joy that God gave her.  After discussing it further among themselves, with the Reverend giving an impassioned plea for Hester, they decided to let her keep Pearl.  Hester was thankful, and she and Pearl left for home.  Mr. Chillingworth offered to figure out the identity of the father of the child, but his offer was refused.  As she leaves, Hester realizes that she would have sold her soul to the devil if it meant she could keep her child. 
Chapter 9: Since his first appearance in town, the people looked on Roger Chillingworth as a blessing.  They were thankful that such a learned physician was given to them.  As time went on, Mr. Chillingworth and the Reverend Dimmesdale became very close.  Though he was young, the Reverend was growing sicker and sicker by the day and the people of the town implored him to let the physician examine him.  He refused but continued to become closer and closer to the old man.  After a while they even began living together in the home of a respected matron of the town.  As time passed, the people began to look at Mr. Chillingworth differently however.  Instead of seeing a man sent from God to help them, they saw in his old disfigured form, a servant of Satan that was sent to haunt the Reverend. 




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