Chapter 9-10 of Scarlett letter

By: Kayleigh Paulk, Brianna Lara,
Roger Chillingsworth, Hester's real husband, is described in more detail. After arriving at Boston and finding his
wife in utter disgrace upon the pillory, he chooses to stay and live in the city. His uncommon intelligence and skill as a
physician soon make him quite popular. Dimmesdale's poor health and Chillingworth's interest in the young man
combine to make many of the church officials try to get them to live together. Dimmesdale declines at first, saying, "I
need no medicine."
Dimmesdale finally gets into the permanent habit of placing his hand over his heart in pain, and he agrees to meet
with Chillingworth. The meeting immediately leads to the two men moving in together. The narrator comments that
"A man burdened with a secret should especially avoid the intimacy of his physician."
The townspeople are for the most part thrilled with the way the relationship between the two men is working out.
However, a few townspeople have more innate intuition and are skeptical of the physician's true motives. They sense
that Chillingworth has undergone a profound change since arriving in Boston, going from a genial old man to an
ugly and evil person. Thus, "it grew to be a widely diffused opinion that the Reverend Author Dimmsdale... was
haunted either by Satan himself, or Satan's emissary, in the guise of old Roger
Chillingworth realizes that Dimmesdale is hiding some dark secret. He therefore expends a great deal of time and energy to make Dimmesdale reveal what is
troubling him. Dimmesdale fails to realize that Chillingworth is in fact his enemy. He is so terrified of everyone in the town finding out his secret that he is blind
to any enemy within his own home.
Chillingworth engages the minister in a conversation about why men keep secrets in their hearts rather than revealing them immediately. Dimmesdale clutches
his breast and struggles to avoid directly answering the questions Chillingworth poses. The two men are interrupted by Pearl and Hester walking through the
cemetery outside. They look out the window and see that Pearl is jumping from gravestone to gravestone, and she finally starts dancing upon a large, flat stone.
When Hester tries to make her stop, she takes several burrs and arranges them on the scarlet letter, to which they stick.
Chillingworth observes that Pearl has no "discoverable principle of being" since she disregards all human ordinances and opinions. Dimmesdale then remarks
that Pearl embodies "the freedom of a broken law." When Pearl sees the two men, she hurls one of her burrs at Dimmesdale, who recoils in fear. Pearl then
shouts to her mother that they should leave, or the "Black Man" who has already gotten hold of Dimmesdale will catch them.
Chillingworth then tells Dimmesdale that as his physician he cannot cure him—his ailment sees to come from his spiritual side. Chillingworth demands to be
told what sort of secret Dimmesdale is hiding. The minister, upset by this, passionately cries out, "No!—not to thee!—not to an earthly physician!" and leaves
the room.
Soon after, Dimmesdale falls asleep while reading. Chillingworth takes the opportunity to place his hand over Dimmesdale's heart and then leaves before the
minister can awaken. He is incredibly full of joy and wonderment after having felt Dimmesdale's heart. The narrator tells us that he acted "how Satan
comports himself when a precious human soul is lost to heaven and won into his kingdom."
A man deficient in human warmth. His twisted, stooped, deformed shoulders mirror his distorted soul. From
what the reader is told of his early years with Hester, he was a difficult husband. He ignored his wife for
much of the time, yet expected her to nourish his soul with affection when he did condescend to spend time
with her. Chillingworth’s decision to assume the identity of a “leech,” or doctor, is fitting. Unable to engage
in equitable relationships with those around him, he feeds on the vitality of others as a way of energizing
his own projects. Chillingworth’s death is a result of the nature of his character.
An individual whose identity owes more to external circumstances than to his innate nature. The
reader is told that Dimmesdale was a scholar at Oxford University. His past suggests that he is
probably somewhat aloof, the kind of man who would not have much natural sympathy for
ordinary men and women. However, Dimmesdale has an unusually active conscience. The fact
that Hester takes all of the blame for their shared sin goads his conscience, and his resultant
mental anguish and physical weakness open up his mind and allow him to empathize with
others. Consequently, he becomes an eloquent and emotionally powerful speaker and a
compassionate leader, and his congregation is able to receive meaningful spiritual guidance
from him.
Vindicate- Clear from suspicion or dishonor
Manifest- Reveal; display; prove
Query- Question; inquiry
Effect- Make happen; result
Waive- Give up
Odious- Very displeasing; hateful; offensive
Scourge- A whip; lash
Expiation- Making amends for a wrong; sin; atonement
Conjecture- Guessing; formation of an opinion without
evidence for proof
• Defunct- Dead; extinct
The term leech was originally attributed to doctors because they used leeches to
treat many different things especially infection. However, Roger is a leech in the sense
that he is grabbing onto the Reverend because he wants to suck the secret out of him.
The narrative voice in these chapters describe Dimmsdale and Chillingsworth in better
detail. As always, he/she is sympathetic towards Hester and Pearl.
Pearl describes the men in the window as the “Black Men”, this is both symbolism and
color because the phrase and the color black are used as devilish things, and as far as
Pearl is concerned, the men are infact ”black men”.
Weeds growing out of his heart. But, if it be the soul's disease, then do I commit
myself to the one Physician of the soul!...But who are thou, that meddlest in this
• The novel's two worst sinners now live together. Sin feeds sin!
•Identifying Dimmesdale as a sinner, Pearl throws him an extension of
the scarlet letter. But is his sin adultery or silence?
•Both Chillingworth and Dimmesdale suffer physically for their inner
turmoil. In keeping secrets to hide their sins and conform to social
pressure, they cause their bodies, their natures, to wither and die.
•Chillingworth recognizes the effect of secret sins. Yet he hides things
too, and becomes an actual "leech" feeding off Dimmesdale's sin.
•Pearl's connection to the occult is here linked to her fixation on the
scarlet letter. This fixation results from Hester's secrecy.
•Chillingworth fakes being a good Puritan. It's a sin to lie, but lying
fools the authorities
•Chillingworth, like the Puritans in general, maintains the appearance
of righteousness but is actually a sinner, and feeds off the sins of
A leech is a hanger-on who seeks advantage or gain. Roger Chillingworth is a perfect
example of a leech. He has attached himself to Arthur Dimmesdale like a harmful
and vicious worm. His only goal in life is to expose Dimmesdale's ignominy and get
revenge. Once Dimmesdale died Chillingsworth had nothing to attach himself to so he
died as well. Draw an animal that you think could symbolize the same thing and
share with your table.
1. What is happening to Dimmsdale?
2. What are the men looking through when they see
pearl dancing in the graveyard?
3. What are “Black Men”?
4. Why is Chillingsworth described as a leech?
5. What is Chillingsworth’s “past”?

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