Chapter Eighteen: A Flood of Sunshine
"All at once, as with a sudden smile of heaven, forth burst the sunshine, pouring a very flood into the obscure forest, gladdening each green leaf, transmuting the yellow fallen ones to gold, and gleaming adown the gray trunks of the solemn trees."
Haunted by his secret affair with Hester Prynne, Dimmesdale becomes very sick. He is overwhelmed by his own guilt and it begins to affect his health severely. As a reverend he is believed to be almost sinless, but the secret sin he continues to hide burdens him. Only when Hester suggests that they should escape their harsh society by going to England is he finally relieved of this burden. Leaving Boston means that Dimmesdale can leave his past behind him, and continue his life with Hester and Pearl. Now that he is finally released from his sin Dimmesdale is no longer defined by his guilt, and we come to know him as Arthur. When Hester addresses Dimmesdale as Arthur we are able to connect with him like she has. With this relief of the sin he has been holding back, his outlook drastically chagned. He is now free to be happy again and this burst of happiness is evident in both his health and attitude, "had the forest still kept its gloom, it would have been bright...in Arthur Dimmesdale's" eyes. The suddenness of referring to him as Arthur is a clear mark of where his transformation occurs.