What is the significance of the "A" throughout the story? Scarlet Letter by Nathiel Hawthorne

Essay by smuckers86High School, 11th grade March 2003

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Condemned to wear a bright red "A" over her breast wherever she went, Hester Prynne had been convicted of adultery by Boston's Puritan leaders because she gave birth to a boy while her husband had been away.

Emerging from the prison house with everyone in the town watching, Hester was led to the town square and walked onto a scaffold with her baby in her arms. There on the scaffold she suffered scorn and public admonishment. One women in the crowd criticized the scarlet letter, the mandatory token of her action, saying that it was much to ornate. A minister in the crowd criticized her for what she had done and called on her to reveal the identity of the father. Another minister, Arthur Dimmesdale, also pled with her to reveal the fathers identity. Unknown to everyone, however, Dimmesdale himself was the father.

He pleads with Hester to reveal the identity of the father because he himself was to embarrassed to do so himself.

From the scaffold Hester saw a man unfamiliar to everyone else but familiar to her. This man was her husband who was a scholar and a physician of sorts, who had spent years away. Now however he goes by the name of "Roger Chillingsworth.". He finds out what his wife, Hester, has done by asking a person in the crowd what she had done to deserve this punishment.

Visiting Hester in her prison cell later that day, Chillingsworth expressed his rage that she should betray him and made her swear not to expose him as her husband. Also he vowed that he would uncover the identity of her lover.

Finally released, Hester took up residence in a lonely cottage by the sea. Her main means of income...