Nathaniel Hawthorne’s masterpiece: A searing portrait of sin and redemption in Puritan New England
When Hester Prynne, a young Puritan woman in seventeenth-century Boston, becomes pregnant out of wedlock, the unforgiving society in which she lives judges her harshly. Sentenced to wear a scarlet A emblazoned on her dress, Hester raises her daughter, Pearl, on the outskirts of town—an exile meant to cause her shame for the remainder of her life.
In refusing to name Pearl’s father, Hester seeks to protect the minister Arthur Dimmesdale from sharing her fate. As the years pass, Dimmesdale grows weaker, eroded by his guilt, while Hester finds renewal in a defiant reclamation of her strength and identity. Their diverging paths lead to a searing final scene that stands among the most powerful in American literature.
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