Page 4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, August 10, 1984
New plot found in old novel
Compiled from Associated Press and
United Press international reports
BOSTON (AP) - A physician believes
he has discovered - and solved - a
twist of plot in 'The Scarlet Letter
that has eluded a century of literary
critics of the classic novel.
To most readers, Nathaniel
Hawthorne's book is a tale of sin and
guilt, subtle in meaning but straight-
forward in plot.
DR. JEMSHED Kahn saw something
else: the poisoning of the adulterous
parson by the cuckolded husband, he
concluded in a report published yester-
The story, set in Puritan Boston,
revolves around Hester Prynne and her
affair with minister Arthur Dim-
mesdale while separated from her
husband, Dr. Roger Chillingworth. The
young woman bears an illegitimate
daughter and is force to wear a scarlet
Chillingworth suspects Dimmesdale,
who is consumed by guilt. Dim-
mesdale's behavior grows increasingly
bizarre, and he eventually confesses
Kahn contends that Dimmesdale did
not die of neurotic guilt, as most exper-
ts presume, but instead was slowly
poisoned by Chillingworth with a mur-
derous potion - atropine.
Among his main points:
" Chillingworth knew how to derive
poisons from New England plants, and
certainly had a motive and opportunity
to kill Dimmesdale while serving as his
*Poisonous plants are mentioned in
the book. At one point, Hester imagines
Chillingworth sinking in a barren spot
of earth "where, in due course of time,
would be seen deadly nightshade,
dogwood, henbane..." Deadly night-
shade and henbane both contain
*Hawthorne checked out Sowerby's
"English Botany" from the Salem
Athenaeum, and the books lists deadly
nightshade and henbane close together.
So "it seems unlikely that references
to the same toxic plants in 'The Scarlet
Letter' are merely coincidental."
.Atropine poisoning causes effects
that, "to a remarkable degree," are
described in the novel. Among those
demonstrated by Dimmesdale are a
flushed appearance, chest pain,
muscular incoordination, convulsions,
dilated pupils, hallucinations, speech
difficulties and a rash.
"I'm a bit skeptical," said English
Professor Millicent Bell of Boston
University, author of "Hawthorne's
View of the Artist."
Gov't moves to expand
moved yesterday toward approving
a sixfold expansion of the "Super-
fund" to clean up abandoned toxic
chemical dumps, amid arguments
that hazardous waste threatens the
health of thousands of Americans.
The bill would boost the so-called
Superfund, the government's chief
tool for fighting hazardous waste
pollution, from $1.6 billion to $10.2
billion over the next five years.
Bomb kills 3 in Beirut
BEIRUT, Lebanon-A bomb tore
through a busy street market in
West Beirut yesterday, killing three
people and wounding 25 amid a new
outbreak of fighting in the moun-
tains that shook Lebanon's hope for
Witnesses said the blast from the
15-pound bomb smashed scores of
windows and blew scraps from
splintered vegetable carts over a
Witnesses said the bomb was
placed on top of an empty oil drum
by a passing motorist.
Broken window sparks
LAWRENCE, Mass.-A dozen
people were injured, fires were set,
and liquor stores were looted early
yesterday in a riot apparently
sparked by a neighborhood feud
over a broken window, authorities
Four of the injured suffered gun-
shot wounds. Police said they had
yet to determine who fired the shots,
but Chief Joseph Tylus said no of-
ficers were involved. There were six
An estimated 100 Hispanics and
whites threw rocks and exchanged
taunts for five hours in the overnight
Congress votes on
WASHINGTON-The House Ap-
propriations Committee yesterday
opened the way to a possible com-
promise with the Senate on military
aid to El Salvador, after Senate
Majority Leader Howard Baker hin-
ted he might ask President Reagan
to call a special session of Congress
if an agreement was not reached.
House and Senate conferees were
appointed following Senate passage
hours earlier of a $6.9-billion sup-
plemental spending bill that con-
tains $117 million to help the
Salvadoran army in its war against
Womens' pension rights
bill clears Congress
WASHINGTON-A bill designed to
make it easier for women to earn
pension rights is on its way to
President Reagan after passing the
House on a voice vote yesterday.
The president was expected to
sign the measure, which was first in-
troduced in 1981 by Rep. Geraldine
Ferraro of New York, the
Democratic vice presidential
The bill would expand pension
coverage for workers who leave jobs
to raise a family and then return to
work, and it would guarantee pen-
sion rights of homemakers whose
working spouses die before
Hatfield may face
Ethics Committee announced
yesterday it is reviewing Sen. Mark
Hatfield's dealings with a Greek
businessman who paid $40,000 to the
senator's wife, and sources said the
FBI wants to open a criminal in-
vestigation into the case.
The latest developments unfolded
as Hatfield(R-Ore.) denied
allegations that the money paid to
Antoinette Hatfield, a real estate
agent, may have been linked to his
own support for a trans-Africa oil
pipeline backed by financier Basil
De Lorean deliberations
in second day
LOS ANGELES-Jurors in the
John De Lorean trial, operating un-
der new security, began their first
full day of deliberations yesterday in
the cocaine trafficking case.
The 59-year-old defendant awaited
the verdict with his wife, fashion
model Cristina Ferrare, at her
mother's West Lost Angeles home.
The hepatitis outbreak which killed'
one nurse and left three other nurses
and a doctor ill last month has led many
hospital employees to seek out hepatitis
vaccinations, a hospital spokesman
The hospital's employee health ser-
vice has given about 60 vaccinations for
hepatitis-B so for this month compared
with an average in previous months of
50 per month, spokesman Steven Hause
According to Dr. Dennis Schaberg,
the hospital's chief infection control of-,
ficer, the vaccines have been available
for over a year but some employees
refrained from getting the shot for fear,
of contracting AIDS. Schaberg said the,
fears were completely unfounded.
He encouraged all employees, and
especially those who deal closely with
patients and blood, to get the shots.
Hepatitis-B can only be transmitted
through the blood and some body fluids.
Schaberg said the effort to identify
the patient who probably brought the
virus into the hospital this spring is still
going on. - Georgea Kovanis
Q9hIrcnrrb nIjtp 'ruioes
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH AND
AMERICAN BAPTIST CAMPUS
502 East Huron., 663-9376
(Between State and Division)
Sunday Worship 9:55 a.m.
August 12: "Soul Liberty" by Robert
Wallace and Nadeen Bishop.
John Reed, Director; Janice Beck, or-
Pastor and Campus Minister, Robert
Associate Minister, Terry Ging.
LUTHERN CAMPUS MINISTRY
at Lord of Light
801 S. Forest at Hill St.
Pastor: Galen Hora
Sunday Worship: 10:30 a.m.
1236 Washtenaw Ct.
A Campus Ministry of the
Christian Reformed Church
Pastor: Reverend Don Postema
Sunday Morning 10:00 a.m. Service:
Celebration of Trinity Sunday.
6:00 p.m. Holy Communion.
Robert Kavasch, Pastor
Sunday 9:30 Worship Service.
Tuesday Bible Study, 7:30.
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
1432 Washtenaw Ave., 662-4466
(Between S. University and Hill)
Sunday Worship Service 9:30:
Wednesday Night Fellowship, 8:00.
120 S. State St.
(Corner of State and Huron)
Church School and Sunday Service
August 12: "Your Favorite Sermon"
by Gerald R. Parker.
Dr. Donald B. Strobe
Dr. Gerald R. Parker
Rev. Tom Wachterhauser
Televised Mondays 8:00 p.m.-Cable Chanel 9.
Member of the Associated Press
Vol. XCIV-- No. 35-S
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