In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, adulteress Hester Prynne must wear a scarlet A to mark her shame. Her lover, Arthur Dimmesdale, remains unidentified and is wracked with guilt, while her husband, Roger Chillingworth who seeks revenge. In June 1642, A young woman named Hester Prynne was found guilty of adultery in the Puritan town of Boston. Then a crowd gathered to witness the punishment and now she must wear a scarlet A on her dress as a sign of shame.
In 17th century Boston, Hester Prynne has just been sentenced to prison after being on trial for committing an act of adultery, which caused the arrival of her daughter, Pearl. In addition to jail time, she was doomed to wear a scarlet, embroidered letter A. When Hester’s husband, Roger Chillingworth, arrives back from his mysterious adventure, asks her to tell the name of her secret lover to repay him for the sin she committed; however, she refuses once again and Roger vows to force her lover out of hiding since she would not tell him herself. Seven years after this incident, the extremely ill Reverend Dimmesdale meets in the woods with Hester and Pearl. After a heartfelt conversation between the reverend and Hester, they develop a plan to
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter followed the lives of Hester Prynne and Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Their daughter Pearl represented the guilt and gifts brought upon them during their time together in Boston. Hester and Dimmesdale’s sinful actions resulted in the birth of Pearl. In the beginning of the story, the Bostonians condemned Hester for committing adultery.
Pearl has also made a connection between Hester’s scarlet letter, Chillingworth and Dimmesdale. It shocks Hester that Pearl has caught on so much and even starts wondering whether or not she should tell Pearl about the scarlet letter when Pearl asks about it on the beach. Hester chose to wait a little while longer because it would be “the price of the child’s sympathy” (188). She is not ready to take away Pearl’s childhood and innocence. Even though Pearl is coming of age where she could be told about her mother’s sin, she is still not
Dimmesdale, knowing that he is the father of Pearl, keeps it a secret for a very long time. Dimmesdale had burned an “A” on his chest. In the book he states “At last… I stand upon where, seven years since, I should have stood; here, with this woman, whose arm… sustains me, at this dreadful moment, from grovelling down upon my face! Lo, the scarlet letter which Hester wears! … it hath cast a lurid gleam of awe and horrible repugnance round about her.
”(VII, 84) Pearl is being likened to the symbol of Hester’s scarlet letter because she is a constant reminder of the sin, as is the letter. In both ways, through the letter, and the child, Hester is forced to face the responsibility that came with her sin. Another way that Hester must take responsibility for her sin has to do with Dimmesdale. Because they committed the sin together, they are eternally linked, illustrated by this quote, “...Hester saw—or seemed to see—that there lay a responsibility upon her, in reference to the clergyman, which she owed to no other, nor to the whole world besides. The links that united her to the rest of human kind—links of flowers, or silk, or gold, or whatever the material—had all been broken.
In the beginning of the novel, Hester Prynne is shown leaving the prison carrying her daughter with a crowd of Puritan women shaming her. Hester commits adultery, but instead of receiving the death sentence, she was given a scarlet letter to wear every day while on the scaffold. The scarlet letter is a symbol of her
The Scarlet Letter narrates the story of Hester Prynne, a recently married young woman sent to America in search of a new and better life, despite the fact her husband, Roger Prynne aka Dr. Roger Chillingworth had remained in England for the purpose of business. She had moved to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the early 1640’s. The book begins with Hester’s emergence from the town’s jail wearing the scarlet letter A embroided on her dress and holding a baby. The scarlet letter is a mark that women convicted of adultery were forced to wear among the Puritans during 17th century New England. The Puritans had been a group of people who sought to purify the Church of England from all Roman Catholic practices.
Throughout the passage from The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses Hester’s baby, Pearl, to illuminate the theme of beauty in a dark place. Once released from prison, Hester, an adulterer, becomes a public spectacle. Through this hard time, Hester has her daughter Pearl to soothe her and to bring her strength and hope for a better future. By using vivid imagery and juxtaposition, Hawthorne depicts Pearl as Hester’s happiness, light, and beauty during a sad and lonely time. While in Prison, Hester is all alone and depressed.
In Chapters Fifteen and Sixteen, of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester recognizes her true hatred of Chillingworth just before she finds Pearl, playing at the beach, and creating a green letter A on her own chest out of seaweed. Later, Hester goes to hopefully “run into” Dimmesdale in the forest to reveal to him the truth about Chillingworth’s identity. Pearl comes along, and as they wait, she curiously asks her mother about the Black Man. When Pearl sees Dimmesdale’s figure appear in the distance, she asks whether the approaching person is in fact the Black Man himself, which Hester rejects. Pearl, however, ponders if Dimmesdale clutches his heart, as he does, because the Black Man has left his mark on him, similar to how the
The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, focuses on the life of Hester Prynne—the unlucky soul who is caught committing adultery and forced to live a life of shame and ignominy. The scaffold is not only the start of her predicament, but it is also the end of the once seemingly perfect Reverend Dimmesdale’s own guilt. The scaffold is the setting of a scene three times throughout the novel: the beginning, middle, and end. For such a lifeless object, it is difficult to recognize its significance in the novel; however, the scaffold is used by Hawthorne to portray the changing relationship between the characters, specifically Hester, Dimmesdale, and Pearl.
By choosing to embrace her actions, Hester flourishes and presents the scarlet letter with a new meaning. Hester has no way of hiding her sins like Dimmesdale since she is pregnant. Hester’s punishment was to stand for three hours on the scaffold and wear the scarlet letter on her chest for the rest of her life. Initially, the people of the Boston were cold and scorned Hester for her sins. One resident eventually attempts to end the mocking of Hester, shouting “’[n]ot
Hester was sentenced to wear the scarlet letter "A" for the rest of her life and Hester was forced to stand on the scaffold, so she could be publicly humiliated for her sin. Hester and Pearl will go through life, being shamed by others. The townspeople want to see Hester suffer. Hester and Pearl are strong enough to receive the looks and the talks that they will be getting from the
It is set in 17th century Boston. Hester Prynne has just been branded with the scarlet letter A to repent the sin of her adulterous affair. Hester never mentions the name of her fellow sinner, but her daughter Pearl is living proof that Hester had sinned. Hester tries to find a way to give her daughter the life she deserves and find penance for herself. The arrival of her presumed dead husband Roger Chillingworth does not make her life easier since he swears to find Peal’s father and avenge his honor.