The year was 1642 in Boston when crowds gathers to see the official punishment of a young woman named Hester Prynne who has been found guilty of adultery. She must wear a scarlet A and stand on the scaffold, exposed to public humiliation in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter (1850).
In the crowd, she sees her long lost husband. He is told of his wife’s adultery and declares that child’s father also be punished, vowing to find him. Her husband then changes his name to Roger Chillingworth.
Roger visits Hester in jail and demands to know the name of her lover, she refuses. She is released from jail and settles with her daughter Pearl in a cottage at the edge of town, together they lead a somber life.
Pearl grows up fascinated with the scarlet A and is capricious and unruly. It is suggested that she be taken from Hester. The story deals with issues of sin, guilt and the puritan way of life.
The Scarlet Letter is the sixth book in Classics month
The Scarlet Letter can be found in your local library, the website for the Bergen County Cooperative Library System can be found here or at your local Barnes and Noble in Hackensack.
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