Quotes from The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne ·  238 pages

Rating: (590K votes)


“We dream in our waking moments, and walk in our sleep.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“Love, whether newly born or aroused from a deathlike slumber, must always create sunshine, filling the heart so full of radiance, that it overflows upon the outward world.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“It is a curious subject of observation and inquiry, whether hatred and love be not the same thing at bottom. Each, in its utmost development, supposes a high degree of intimacy and heart-knowledge; each renders one individual dependent for the food of his affections and spiritual life upon another; each leaves the passionate lover, or the no less passionate hater, forlorn and desolate by the withdrawal of his object.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter



“She could no longer borrow from the future to ease her present grief.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“Let men tremble to win the hand of woman, unless they win along with it the utmost passion of her heart!”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“I have laughed, in bitterness and agony of heart, at the contrast between what I seem and what I am!”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from 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, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“It is to the credit of human nature, that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves more readily than it hates. Hatred, by a gradual and quiet process, will even be transformed to love, unless the change be impeded by a continually new irritation of the original feeling of hostility.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter



“We men of study, whose heads are in our books, have need to be straightly looked after! We dream in our waking moments, and walk in our sleep.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“She had wandered, without rule or guidance, into a moral wilderness... Her intellect and heart had their home, as it were, in desert places, where she roamed as freely as the wild Indian in his woods... The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers—stern and wild ones—and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“It contributes greatly towards a man's moral and intellectual health, to be brought into habits of companionship with individuals unlike himself, who care little for his pursuits, and whose sphere and abilities he must go out of himself to appreciate.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“Do anything, save to lie down and die!”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“In all her intercourse with society, however, there was nothing that made her feel as if she belonged to it... She stood apart from mortal interests, yet close beside them, like a ghost that revisits the familiar fireside, and can no longer make itself seen or felt.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter



“It is a good lesson - though it may often be a hard one - for a man... to step aside out of the narrow circle in which his claims are recognized, and to find how utterly devoid of significance, beyond that circle, is all that he achieves, and all he aims at.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“Some attribute had departed from her, the permanence of which had been essential to keep her a woman. Such is frequently the fate, and such the stern development, of the feminine character and person, when the woman has encountered, and lived through, an experience of peculiar severity. If she be all tenderness, she will die. If she survive, the tenderness will either be crushed out of her, or—and the outward semblance is the same—crushed so deeply into her heart that it can never show itself more.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“...if truth were everywhere to be shown, a scarlet letter would blaze forth on many a bosom...”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from 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, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“Hold thy peace, dear little Pearl!" whispered her mother. "We must not always talk in the market-place of what happens to us in the forest.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter



“There are many things in this world that a child must not ask about.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“The sorrow that lay cold in her mother's heart... converted it into a tomb.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“To the untrue man, the whole universe is false- it is impalpable- it shrinks to nothing within his grasp. And he himself is in so far as he shows himself in a false light, becomes a shadow, or, indeed, ceases to exist.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“In our nature, however, there is a provision, alike marvelous and merciful, that the sufferer should never know the intensity of what he endures by its present torture, but chiefly by the pang that rankles after it.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“it is a curious subject of observation and inquiry, whether hatred and love be not the same thing at bottom.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter



“It [the scarlet letter] had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“When an uninstructed multitude attempts to see with its eyes, it is exceedingly apt to be deceived.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“All merely graceful attributes are usually the most evanescent.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“It was no wonder that they thus questioned one another’s actual and bodily existence, and even doubted of their own. So strangely did they meet in the dim wood, that it was like the first encounter, in the world beyond the grave, of the two spirits who had been intimately connected in their former life, but now stood coldly shuddering, in mutual dread, as not yet familiar with their state, more wonted to the companionship of disembodied beings. Each a ghost, and awe-stricken at the other ghost! They were awe-stricken likewise at themselves; because the crisis flung back to them their consciousness, and revealed to each heart its history and experience, as life never does, except at such breathless epochs. The soul beheld its features in the mirror of the passing moment. It was with fear, and tremulously, and, as it were, by a slow, reluctant necessity, that Arthur Dimmesdale put forth his hand, chill as death, and touched the chill hand of Hester Prynne. The grasp, cold as it was, took away what was the dreariest in the interview. They now felt themselves, at last, inhabitants of the same sphere.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter


“But there is a fatality, a feeling so irresistible and inevitable that it has the force of doom, which almost invariably compels human beings to linger around and haunt, ghost-like, the spot where some great and marked event has given the colour to their lifetime; and, still the more irresistibly, the darker the tinge that saddens it.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, quote from The Scarlet Letter



About the author

Nathaniel Hawthorne
Born place: in Salem, Massachusetts, The United States
Born date July 4, 1804
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