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The Scarlet Letter
(Nathaniel Hawthorne)

Hester Prynne, a young woman of 17th century Boston, is led from the town prison with her infant daughter Pearl and the scarlet letter ?A? written on her breast. There is a crowd and an elderly man tells them that Hester is being punished for adultery.Hester?s husband sent her to America ahead of him, but never arrived in Boston. People said that he was lost at sea.Hester became pregnant but would not reveal who her lover was. The scarlet letter and public shaming was her punishment for being secretive. She refuses to reveal the identity of the child?s father.Hester?s husband, now known as Roger Chillingworth lives in Boston, practicing medicine. He intends to take revenge on Hester for being unfaithful. He is the elderly man who tells the crowd about Hester?s adultery.Shunned by society, Hester and Pearl live in a village away from Boston in a small cottage. Hester stitches clothes and lives a quiet life. The person whom she visits regularly is Pastor Dimmesdale. Hester is very good at her work and soon the village women think of her as a decent person. A few of them talk to her and she takes care of some old people who need care.Dimmesdale frequently falls sick and he seems to be punishing himself for some reason. Chillingworth becomes suspicious and moves in with him on the pretext that he needs constant medical attention. Hester recognizes him but he swears her to secrecy.One day, while Dimmesdale is sleeping, Chillingworth notices something on his chest. He realizes that his suspicions were correct. Dimmesdale continues to inflict new tortures on himself.A few days later, while Hester and Pearl are returning home after visiting an ailing woman, they meet Dimmesdale on the scaffold. Pearl begs him to publicly announce her as his daughter, but he refuses.Hester decides to reveal Chillingworth?s identity to Dimmesdale. But Chillingworth stops her by threatening to expose the pastor and thus silences her. When Hester gets the first opportunity she tells Dimmesdale and they make a decision to leave Boston together. They book passage on the ship leaving for Europe in a few days. They decide to live together as a family in Europe. Chillingworth comes to know about this and books passage for himself on the same ship.The next day Dimmesdale preaches, and his sermon is the best that the people ever heard. The people were deeply moved and impressed by his sermon. While returning home after service, he looks up and sees Hester and Pearl standing on the scaffold. On an impulse he goes up to them and kisses Pearl. He then announces publicly that Pearl is his daughter and then drops down dead.Chillingworth is disappointed by the turn of events. He now cannot take revenge either on Hester or Dimmesdale. He goes away from the village and dies a year later.Dimmesdale?s death didn?t change Hester?s plan. She takes Pearl to Europe. No one in Boston heard of them again. They did not know what happened to the mother and daughter.In Europe, Hester works hard and sends Pearl to the best schools. Pearl grows into a beautiful, intelligent and well-mannered lady. She meets an aristocrat and marries him. Now, she lives in Europe with her husband and children. She writes to her mother regularly.One day, Hester comes back to the village in Boston and lives in the same cottage. She also wears the scarlet letter ?A? again. When she dies, she is buried next to Dimmesdale and bothe the graves have the letter 'A' on them.

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