The Scarlet Letter Summary
Puritan adultery=big scarlet “A.” Puritan's know how to keep it simple. What’s not so simple? Hester Prynne’s adamant refusal to reveal who the father of her child, Pearl, is. Someone give her a big fuschia “P” for perplexing.
|19th-Century Literature||19th-Century American Literature|
|American Literature||19th-Century American Literature|
All American Literature
|Author||Hawthorne - Nathaniel Hawthorne|
|Themes||Compassion and Forgiveness|
Fate and Free Will
Guilt and Blame
Justice and Judgement
Man and the Natural World
Women and Femininity
hours. They kept asking me to name my daughter's father. Yeah, like I was gonna give up that
Then, who should I spy in the crowd around the scaffoldÉ but my long-lost husband. Guess
he didn't die in that shipwreck after all. Reverend Wilson and Arthur Dimmesdale kept
asking me to give up my boyfriend but nope, sorry guys, no can do.
Doctor Roger Chillingworth, aka my long-lost husband, then showed up at my prison cell.
He wanted to know who my boyfriend was. No one in this town seems to get that my lips
are sealed on the subject.
At any rate, ol' Roger told me that if I ever told anyone we were married, he'd ruin my
boyfriend-who-shall-not-be-named. Yet another secret I have to keep.
Once I got out of prison, I moved into a cottage on the edge of Boston and eked out an existence
I loved my little girl, Pearl, but she wasÉ a handful, and she was fascinated by the scarlet
ÒAÓ on my dress. As she grew older and more difficult, some people suggested she be taken
away from me. I went to plead my case with Governor Bellingham
and the Reverends Wilson and Dimmesdale. Pearl was in kind of a bad mood during the meeting...
...and the men decided this meant she should be raised by someone else.
Fortunately, Dimmesdale sided with me in the end...
...and I got to keep Pearl. It was around this time that Reverend Dimmesdale
became ill, and my long-lost husband the physician went to stay with him.
One night, ol' Roger did a little snooping, and what did he find? A scarlet ÒAÓ on Arthur's
chest. Uh-ohÉ busted.
Some odd astronomical activity and Arthur's obvious ill health led me to ask my long-lost
husband to release me from my vow of silence regarding our marriage.
I also warned Roger that if he didn't give up the whole revenge thing, his soul would
be lost. A few days later, I revealed Chillingworth's
true identity and thirst for revenge to Arthur.
I also talked Arthur into sailing for Europe with Pearl and me, so we could start a new
I also took the ÒAÓ off of my dress. It had been on there for years, and there was
a stain I needed to Shout out. But my plan didn't work. Not only would Pearl
not talk to me until I put the ÒAÓ back on my dress...
...but Arthur decided he was dying...
...and the captain of the ship my little family unit was supposed to sail on told me that
Chillingworth had booked passage, too, soÉ great.
Election Day arrived, and Arthur gave an amazing sermon. Seriously, best one of his career,
hands down. He then told everyone he was Pearl's father...
...and dropped dead in my arms. Ol' Roger decided he was tired of revenge, so he conveniently
died, too, leaving a fortune to Pearl. Several years have passed since the deaths
of my long-lost husband and boyfriend, and I've returned to Boston. I'm wearing my scarlet
...but it doesn't seem to carry the stigma it once did, for the women of the town come
to me for advice and comfort.
Even so, I bet theyÕll stick a big, red ÒAÓ on my tombstone when I die.