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The Scarlet Letter
(Nathaniel Hawthorne)

The Scarlet Letter is a very famous novel written by Nathaniel
Hawthorne. The story follows the life of a young woman named
Hester Prynne who has been accused of adultery and publically shamed.

The story starts as Hester is lead out of prison, carrying a baby in
her arms, with a large scarlet letter A written on her chest.
This letter is to stay on her chest as her punishment. She is
taken to the town square and publically mocked, but she refuses to tell
the identity of the man with whom she had the affair. Apparently,
her husband had sent her ahead from England but had stayed behind for a
little while. He had never showed up in America, and the theory
was that he had been shipwrecked. In the meantime, Hester had had
an affair and concieved a child in her husband's abscence.

A mysterious man named Roger Chillingworth shows up in the town on the
day of Hester's public shaming. He is a doctor of sorts, and no
one in the town knows who he is. No one, that is, except
Hester. We find out that this man is in fact her husband, who had
not been drowned after all. He is here intent on revenge in some

Years pass and Hester's daughter, Pearl begins to grow up. Hester
supports them by her skills as a seamstress. There is a young
minister in the town who is often helping the two, by the name of
Arthur Dimmesdale. He is wasting away, however, at a very young
age by some mysterious ailment. Chillingworth becomes the
personal doctor of Dimmesdale. Eventually Chillingworth finds out
that the young minister is ailing because of his guilt. He turns
out to be the man with which Hester had the affair.

Hester begs Chillingworth to stop adding to the doctor's torment, but
he refuses. Hester meets with Dimmesdale and the two decide to
flee to Europe to live together in their love. However,
Chillingworth find out about their plans and books a spot on the same
boat. On the day that they are to leave, Dimmesdale preaches his
best and most inspiring sermon ever. As he is leaving the church,
he sees Hester and Pearl by the scaffold, and joins them, publically
confessing his sins. He then dies, exposing a letter A burned
into the flesh of his chest.

Eventually Chillingworth dies, and Hester and Pearl leave the town, no
one knowing what happened to them. Hester returns in her old age
to live out the rest of her life there, the scarlet A still on her
chest. Eventually she dies, and is buring next to Dimmesdale,
where a scarlet A marks their tombstone.

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