The Scarlet Letter (Kobo eBook)

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The Scarlet Letter by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne was published in 1850. This work of historical fiction is considered to be a masterpiece of American literature and a classic moral study.

Set in 17th-century Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1642 to 1649 the novel tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and refuses to reveal her lover’s identity.

Hester believes herself to be a widow, but her husband, Roger Chillingworth, returns to New England very much alive and conceals his identity. He finds his wife forced to wear the scarlet letter A on her dress as punishment for her sin and her secrecy. Chillingworth becomes obsessed with finding the identity of his wife’s former lover.

Hester struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. When it’s revealed that her lover is a saintly young minister, Dimmesdale, who is the leader of those exhorting her to name the child’s father, he is tormented until stricken by guilt, becomes ill and publicly confesses his adultery before dying in Hester’s arms.

Hester herself is revealed to be a self-reliant heroine who is never truly repentant for committing adultery with the minister and feels that their act was consecrated by their deep love for each other. She begins a new life with her daughter in Europe and years later upon her return to New England, she continues to wear the scarlet letter. After her death she is buried next to Dimmesdale and on their joint tombstone is a description of the scarlet A.