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A young woman, Hester Prynne, has been found guilty of adultery and must wear a scarlet A on her dress as a sign of shame. Furthermore, she must stand on the scaffold for three hours, exposed to public humiliation.
As Hester approaches the scaffold, many of the women in the crowd are angered by her beauty and quiet dignity. When demanded and cajoled to name the father of her child, Hester refuses.
As Hester looks out over the crowd, she notices a small, misshapen man and recognizes him as her long-lost husband, who has been presumed lost at sea. He chooses a new name — Roger Chillingworth — to aid him in his plan. Reverend John Wilson and the minister of her church, Arthur Dimmesdale, question Hester, but she refuses to name her lover.
After she returns to her prison cell, the jailer brings in Roger Chillingworth, a physician, to calm Hester and her child with his roots and herbs. When Hester refuses, he insists that she never reveal that he is her husband.
Following her release from prison, Hester settles in a cottage at the edge of town and earns a meager living with her needlework. She lives a quiet, somber life with her daughter, Pearl. As an infant, Pearl is fascinated by the scarlet A. As she grows older, Pearl becomes capricious and unruly.
Her conduct starts rumors, and, not surprisingly, the church members suggest Pearl be taken away from Hester. Hester, hearing the rumors that she may lose Pearl, goes to speak to Governor Bellingham. With him are Reverends Wilson and Dimmesdale.
When Wilson questions Pearl about her catechism, she refuses to answer, even though she knows the correct response, thus jeopardizing her guardianship.
Tormented by his guilty conscience, Dimmesdale goes to the square where Hester was punished years earlier.
Climbing the scaffold, he sees Hester and Pearl and calls to them to join him. He admits his guilt to them but cannot find the courage to do so publicly. Suddenly Dimmesdale sees a meteor forming what appears to be a gigantic A in the sky; simultaneously, Pearl points toward the shadowy figure of Roger Chillingworth.
In her discussion of this with Chillingworth, she tells him his obsession with revenge must be stopped in order to save his own soul.Nathaniel Hawthorne’s historical novel The Scarlet Letter explores guilt, revenge, and redemption in colonial America.
Hawthorne blends supernatural elements with psychological insight in his story of one woman’s public punishment for adultery. The Scarlet Letter opens with a long preamble about how the book came to be written. The nameless narrator was the surveyor of the customhouse in Salem, Massachusetts.
The nameless narrator was the surveyor of the customhouse in Salem, Massachusetts. Read The Scarlet Letter by author Nathaniel Hawthorne, FREE, online. (Table of Contents.) This book and many more are available.
The punishment of the scarlet letter is a historical fact; and, apart from the symbol thus ready provided to the author's hand, such a book as The Scarlet Letter would doubtless never have existed. May 17, · "As I read the book, we began to realize that to be true to 'The Scarlet Letter' would be more difficult than we thought," the director, Roland Joffe, said in .
The Scarlet Letter Symbolism and Imagery study guide by pattypan includes 11 questions covering vocabulary, terms and more. Quizlet flashcards, activities and games help you improve your grades.