The Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter is a novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is about Hester Prynne, a woman who bears an illegitimate child. Though set in Puritan community centuries ago, the moral dilemmas of personal responsibility and consuming emotions of guilt, anger, loyalty and revenge are timeless.
The book begins with an essay titled “The Custom House” about the history of Hawthorne but it serves as nothing more than a preface. The book begins by explaining how Hester Prynne had committed adultery and had a child with a man that was not her husband. Hester will not tell who the father of the child (Pearl) is. As a punishment for her sin, she must stand on a scaffold and receive the insults of the people for three hours and she must wear a scarlet “A” on her bosom for the rest ...view middle of the document...
Ironically, it turned out that Arthur Dimmesdale was the father of the baby. Roger Chillingworth who as a physician moved in with Reverend Dimmesdale because Dimmesdale was growing ill. While living with Dimmesdale, he grew suspicious that Dimmesdale was the father of Pearl and sought revenge on him by torturing him mentally. One night, his suspicions were confirmed when Chillingworth opened Dimmesdale’s shirt while he was sleeping and discovered a scarlet A on Dimmesdale’s chest. Hester and Pearl were let out of prison when Pearl was a young girl. Hester was ordered to wear a scarlet A on her chest with strangely drew Pearl. Dimmesdale, feeling guilty, visits Hester and Pearl. Then one night the three of them stood on the scaffold together and Dimmesdale imagines people mocking him as they should have seven years ago. He apologizes to Pearl and Hester for not being with them on the Scaffold. While they are on the scaffold, a meteor flies through the sky leaving a trail that looked like the letter A as a reminder of their sin. Hester tells Dimmesdale that her real husband is Chillingworth and that he wants revenge, badly. They decide to run away together on a ship on Election Day. That day, Hester discovered that Chillingworth bought a ticket for the same boat that she and Dimmesdale were going to take. Dimmesdale delivered the Election Day sermon, one of his best sermons ever spoken, and walks up to the scaffold with Hester and Pearl to reveal his sin to his entire congregation. He confesses everything and falls ill and dies soon afterward. Hester leaves with Pearl. A few months later, Chillingworth dies and leaves Pearl a great sum of money. Hester and Pearl move to England where Hester is looked upon as a wise woman. She continues to wear the scarlet letter there.