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THE SCARLET LETTER - Nathaniel Howthorne

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THE SCARLET LETTER - Nathaniel Howthorne

In Puritan Boston Hester Prynne was accused of adultery and the leading men of the Puritan settlement decided that Hester had to stand on the platform for three hours where everyone could see her. Then, she was condemned to wear a scarlet "A" on the breast of her dress all her life. The Puritan leaders asked her to reveal the name of her lover but she refused. While she and her infant were in prison, her husband, Roger Chillingworth, who was a physician, went to speak to her. He was determinate to find Hester's lover, although he ned no revenge against Hester. She swore to keep Chillingworth's real identity a secret. When Hester Prynne's prison term was finally over she thought that she would be alone in the world with her child. She was free to leave Boston, but she decided to stay. The Puritan community scorned her and Pearl. Her only contact with society was through her work because she was very skilled with the needle. Governor Bellingham seriously thought about taking Pearl away from Hester because the child was considerate a "living sin". At a meeting with the governor, Reverend Dimmesdale was able to convince him to let Hester keep Pearl since this was God's wish.

Roger Chillingworth became Reverend Dimmesdale's medical adviser and never left him alone. The minister and the physican even lived in the same house. As time went on Chillingworth underwent a hideous change. He was convinced that the reverend was hiding a terrible secret. The reverend had a troubled soul but he never revealed his shame to anyone. He told his congregation that he was a vile sinner, and everyone appreciated him even more. He whipped his shoulders and fasted as an act of penance.

One night he met Hester and Pearl on the scaffold, and Chillingworth saw them together. After having seen Reverend Dimmesdale on the scaffold, Hester decided it was her responsibility to help him and she met Chillingworth to tell him that she wanted to reveal his true identity to the reverend. Hester took Pearl for a walk in the forest where the reverend used to walk, when she met Dimmesdale she revealed him the true physician's identity and asked him to go far away together with Pearl to begin a new life, but the reverend had just the courage to confess his sin in front of the townspeople because soon died. Hester remained alone and decided to take away Pearl with her. After many years Hester returned to Boston where she died after a life of good deeds and charity.


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