Essay on The Death Of Hester Prynne
Hester Prynne gazed after him, looking with half-curiosity and half-bitterness. She wondered if the tender spring grass beneath his feet would not be crushed by his every step. She questioned which sort of herbs this old man was so sedulous (1) to gather; would the earth not greet him with deadly and poisonous shrubs?
Or perhaps would every growth he came upon and touched be transformed into some deleterious (2) creature? And did the sun really even fall upon him? Was it only in her imagination that an ominous (3) shadow surrounded him in a sphere, moving along with him?
And now, where was he going? Would he not suddenly sink into the earth, as though trapped by quickstand, and in his disappearance leave behind a barren and blasted spot? Or would he spread the wings of a bat and flee away, growing uglier as he flew higher?
“Whether it is wrong or not,” said Hester, bitterly, “I hate the man!”
She upbraided (4) herself for the sentiment but could not overcome it.
Gazing after him, she thought of the days of their shared past. He had emerged in the evening from the seclusion (5) of his study, and at their dinner-table, sit in the light of her nuptial (6) smile. He needed to bask (7) in that smile, he had said, to warm himself of the chill that the lonely hours with his books had brought upon him.
Such scenes, which once had appeared…