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Chapter Three - "The Recognition,"

In Chapter Three - "The Recognition," Hawthorne makes four references to Indians. First, he utilizes them kidnapping Roger Chillingworth as part of the plot that partially explains his two years absence from the side of his wife. An Indian is Chillingworth's companion as he learns that his wife has committed adultery. Hawthorne uses the word "savage" to describe part of Chillingworth's garb; undoubtedly that part of his outfit would have been gleamed from his Indian captors. Second, he alludes to the historical practice of exchanging prisoners for other prisoners for goods or money. Third, Hawthorne ironically contrasts how the punishing of "iniquity" must be such a marvelous contrast to the behavior he observed among the Indians. Fourth, he shows the easy camaraderie Chillingworth has with the Indian -- directly contrasting the relationship we might have assumed a white man to have with Indians.

1. From this intense consciousness of being the object of severe and universal observation, the wearer of the scarlet letter was at length relieved by discerning, on the outskirts of the crowd, a figure which irresistibly took possession of her thoughts. An Indian, in his native garb, was standing there; but the red men were not so infrequent visitors of the English settlements, that one of them would have attracted any notice from Hester Prynne, at such a time; much less would he have excluded all other objects and ideas from her mind. By the Indian's side, and evidently sustaining a companionship with him, stood a white man, clad in a strange disarray of civilized and savage costume.

2. "You say truly," replied the other. "I am a stranger, and have been a wanderer, sorely against my will. I have met with grievous mishaps by sea and land, and have been long held in bonds among the heathen-folk, to the southward; and am now brought hither by this Indian to be redeemed out of my captivity."

3. "Truly, friend, and methinks it must gladden your heart, after your troubles and sojourn in the wilderness," said the townsman, "to find yourself, at length, in a land where iniquity is searched out, and punished in the sight of rulers and people, as here in our godly New England."

4. He bowed courteously to the communicative townsman, and, whispering a few words to his Indian attendant, they both made their way through the crowd.




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