A reveiw of the scarlet letter

Essay by dudd88 January 2005

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The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a novel that takes place in a

Puritan community during the middle of the seventeenth century. The story is about a

woman named Hester Prynne who has an affair with a man by the name of Reverend

Arthur Dimmesdale. This occurred after her husband inexplicably failed to join her in

Boston after their emigration to American from Europe. Hester soon gives birth to a child, and is from then on condemned by her fellow townspeople. This condemnation

consists of the town forcing her to wear an "A" upon her bosom. Throughout the book

the letter A takes various shapes and forms for different people.

The first person for whom the letter "A" takes shape for is Hester Prynne. For

Hester the "A" can represent adulteress, ashamed, artist, able, armor, and alienation. An adulteress is someone who commits adultery, voluntary sexual intercourse between

a married person and a partner other than the lawful spouse.

Hester commits adultery

when she engages in sexual intercourse with Reverend Dimmesdale, a man who is not

her husband. Her deed is found out when Hester becomes pregnant, a task not

possible by her husband since he had been missing for some odd number of years.

The term adulteress is placed down on her as a punishment for going against the puritan ways and having

intercourse with a man other than her husband. The "A" is supposed to be used as a form

of punishment but Hester does not see it that way. The town places the A upon her bosom

because it "is meant to be a symbol of shame, but instead it becomes a more powerful

symbol of identity to Hester. The letter's meaning shifts as time passes (Sparknotes, 7)."

They wanted her to...