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The Scarlet Letter

Satisfactory Essays
If one is to read Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter, they will forever remember the remarkable tale of a woman who succeeds against all odds. It extraordinarily describes the life and times of early Puritan colonists in America and the sin of adultery. The question of morality and its positive and negative effects is at the very core of this story. Is one night of sin worth a lifetime of hardships?

I. Summary

Hester Prynne, a member of a once affluent and prosperous family, was arranged to marry a physician by the name of Roger Chillingworth. Although not out of love, they are married and live successful lives in Amsterdam. When they eventually decide to settle in America, Hester is set on ahead of Roger so that he may finish his business in Amsterdam. Hester does not hear from her husband for two years, and many people conceive of his being lost at sea.
Hester then falls in love with another man and they have a child together. She is found guilty of committing adultery and is sentenced to stand holding her child before Boston on a scaffold for three hours. She is interrogated as to who her fellow sinner is, but she remains strong. Many women of the town believe that Hester's penalty is not harsh enough and therefore, she is marked with the letter A upon her chest. She is returned to her prison cell and a doctor is summoned to help calm her. The doctor turns out to be her lost husband, Chillingworth, and he makes Hester promise to never reveal that he is her husband. She does so in return for the secrecy of the name of the man who is the father of her daughter, Pearl.
Eventually, Hester settles down with Pearl in a small cottage and leads a basically normal life as a seamstress. Pearl turns out to be a very peculiar child with a disobedient attitude towards life. She is 'imp-like'; in appearance and many people believe that she could be a bad influence on their comfortable Puritan town. With hearing talk that Pearl may be taken away from her, she goes to the Governor Bellingham's office in order to talk him into letting her keep the child. Bellingham is displeased with Pearl's attitude of the church and Puritanism, and therefore decides to take her away. Just before he does, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale steps in and talks Bellingham out of it.
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