The Scarlet Letter
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Contributed by Tereasa Jacob
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Chapter Summaries
Chapter Summaries Table
Chapter Summary

In the introduction, The Scarlet Letter’s anonymous fictional narrator describes himself as having accepted a job at the Salm Custom House, as a ...

Chapter 1-2

Chapter 1 is preoccupied with setting out some of the symbols that will be significant in the story, as well as setting the scene and establishing ...

Chapter 3-4

Summary—Chapter 3: The Recognition

Hester sees her husband, until now presumed to be dead, in the crowd while she is at ...

Chapter 5-6

Summary—Chapter 5: Hester at Her Needle

After a few months in prison, Hester is released and free to go where she likes....

Chapter 7-8

Summary—Chapter 7: The Governor’s Hall

Hester is worried that the town fathers are thinking about taking Pearl away fr...

Chapter 9-10

Summary—Chapter 9: The Leech

Chillingworth’s decision to take a different name before coming to Boston allowed him to h...

Chapter 11-12

Summary—Chapter 11: The Interior of a Heart

Dimmesdale is under so much pressure and duress from Chillingworth’s questioning and probing...

Chapter 13-14

Summary—Chapter 13: Another View of Hester

Pearl is now seven years old. While she and Hester are still outcasts, Hester...

Chapter 15-16

Summary—Chapter 15: Hester and Pearl

Hester tries to find Pearl when Chillingworth walks away. She hates Chillingworth, ...

Chapter 17-18

Summary—Chapter 17: The Pastor and His Parishioner

It is in the forest that Dimmesdale and Hester find refuge from Chill...

Chapter 19-20

Summary—Chapter 19: The Child at the Brook-Side

When Hester calls to Pearl, who is on the other side of the brook, to com...

Chapter 21-22

Summary—Chapter 21: The New England Holiday

There is a public gathering in the town’s marketplace. Its purpose is cele...

Chapter 23-24

Summary—Chapter 23: The Revelation of the Scarlet Letter

In Dimmesdale’s sermon on Election Day, he says that the people of the colony w...

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