"Scarlet letter"

Essay by futboler10High School, 11th gradeA, November 2003

download word file, 5 pages 3.0

The Scarlet Letter takes place in the Puritan Mass Bay Colonies, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and centers on Hester Prynne. Hester is an outsider in her puritan community, because she has committed a horrific crime in her neighbor's eyes. She has broken one of the Ten Commandments adultery, and is therefore going to hell. She has an illegitimate child outside of her marriage and this child has no known father. As such, the puritan leaders make an example of her by forcing her to wear a scarlet letter, and ignominious brand that separates her from the community. While most women would have fled such persecution, she stays and faces the community with pride. She refuses to reveal the name of her lover so that he will not get hurt and lose his position in society. The reader knows, however, that her lover is the town preacher Rodger Dimmesdale. If she was to tell who he is, he would lose his position that he loves so much.

The story gets even more intertwined: her husband, who was away in Amsterdam, comes back to her while she is brandishing this letter. He tells her not to tell anyone who he is, and has sworn to punish her lover as soon as he finds out his identity. Hester keeps this secret along with many others, she has to live keeping the secrets most of her life. In her own community, she was viewed as a sinner and an immoral person. The people living in the puritan village later see how special she is and forgive her. In the Scarlet Letter Hawthorne, portrays Hester Prynne as a role model for her own society and for other societies.

Right away in the novel, Hawthorne describes the puritan village as dull and unattractive place. The...