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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” Quotes (24 Quotes)


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  • In all her intercourse with society, however, there was nothing that made her feel as if she belonged to it.
    (Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter")

  • When an uninstructed multitude attempts to see with its eyes, it is exceedingly apt to be deceived.
    (Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter")

  • It came to pass, not long after the scene above recorded, that the Reverend Mr Dimmesdale, at noonday, and entirely unawares, fell into a deep, deep slumber, sitting in his chair, with a large black-letter volume open before him on the table. It must have been a work of vast ability in the somniferous school of literature.
    (Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter")

  • Without any effort of his will, or power to restrain himself, he shrieked aloud; an outcry that went pealing through the night, and was beaten back from one house to another, and reverberated from the hills in the background; as if a company of devils, detecting so much misery and terror in it, had made a plaything of the sound and were bandying it to and fro.
    (Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter")

  • It is remarkable, that persons who speculate the most boldly often conform with the most perfect quietude to the external regulations of society. The thoughts alone suffice them, without investing itself in the flesh and blood of action.
    (Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter")


  • Wondrous strength and generosity of a woman's heart! She will not speak!
    (Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter")

  • It was one of those moments-which sometimes occur only at the interval of years-when a man's moral aspect is faithfully revealed to his mind's eye. Not improbably, he had never before viewed himself as he did now.
    (Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter")

  • Just where she had paused, the brook chanced to form a pool so smooth and quiet that it reflected a perfect image of her little figure, with all the brilliant picturesqueness of her beauty, in its adornment of flowers and wreathed foliage.... It was strange, the way in which Pearl stood, looking so steadfastly at them through the dim medium of the forest gloom, herself, meanwhile, all glorified with a ray of sunshine....
    (Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter")

  • Shall we not spend our immortal life together? Surely, surely, we have ransomed one another, with all this woe!
    (Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter")

  • She could no longer borrow from the future to ease her present grief.
    (Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter")

  • She wanted-what some people want throughout life-a grief that should deeply touch her, and thus humanize and make her capable of sympathy.
    (Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter")

  • Sometimes a light glimmered out of the physician's eyes, burning blue and ominous, like the reflection of a furnace, or, let us say, like one of those gleams of ghastly fire that darted from Bunyan's awful doorway in the hill-side, and quivered on the pilgrim's face.
    (Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter")

  • The child probably overheard their voices; for, looking up to the window, with a bright, but naughty smile of mirth and intelligence, she threw one of the prickly burrs at the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale. The sensitive clergyman shrunk, with nervous dread, from the light missile.
    (Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter")

  • The great scene of grief, in which the wild infant bore a part, had developed all her sympathies; and as her tears fell upon her father's cheek, they were the pledge that she would grow up amid human joy and sorrow, nor for ever do battle with the world, but be a woman in it. Towards her mother, too, Pearl's errand as a messenger of anguish was all fulfilled.
    (Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter")

  • All merely graceful attributes are usually the most evanescent.
    (Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter")


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