In Junein Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, a crowd gathers to witness the punishment of Hester Prynne, a young woman who has given birth to a baby of unknown parentage. She is required to wear a scarlet "A" on her dress when she is in front of the townspeople to shame her. The letter "A" stands for adulteress, although this is never said explicitly in the novel. Her sentence required her to stand on the scaffold for three hours, exposed to public humiliation, and to wear the scarlet "A" for the rest of her life.
Chapters 13—14 Summary—Chapter Hester has become more active in society.
She brings food to the doors of the poor, she nurses the sick, and she is a source of aid in times of trouble. Read a translation of Chapter Hester and the Physician Hester resolves to ask Chillingworth to stop tormenting the minister. One day she and Pearl encounter him near the beach, gathering plants for his medicines.
Divine providence, she says, will make it fall from her chest when it is time for it to do so. In a spasm of self-awareness, Chillingworth realizes how gnarled and mentally deformed he has become.
He recalls the old days, when he was a benevolent scholar. The two engage in an argument over who is responsible for the current state of affairs.
The ways in which a society tries to define a person are often at odds with the way that individual defines him- or herself. As the community reinterprets the scarlet letter, Hester once again has an identity thrust upon her by her fellow townspeople.
The meaning of the letter can vary with the desires and needs of the community, because the letter does not signify any essential truth in itself. Like the meteor in Chapter 12, it simply serves to reinforce popular opinion.
Yet, because Puritan doctrine elevated faith and predestination over good works, no amount of good deeds can counteract sin; one must be ranked among the chosen. Although the community may acknowledge her intentions as good, it will never consider her divinely forgiven, and thus its members cannot forgive her in their own hearts.
In the end, this is a society that privileges a pure and untainted soul above an actively good human being. Taken to an extreme, a doctrine that prizes faith over good works may mean that, in terms of everyday life, the pursuit of a transcendent heaven results in a hell on earth.
They think that their chosen punishment for her, the scarlet letter, has effectively humbled her as planned. The scarlet letter has not led her to contemplate her sin and possible salvation. Rather, it has led her to unholy speculations—thoughts of suicide and ruminations about the unfair lot of women.
She refused to flee Boston when Pearl was an infant because at the time she did not believe that her fellow men and women should have the power to judge her.
Now, Hester refuses to remove the scarlet letter—she understands that its removal would be as meaningless as its original placement.Complete summary of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.
eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Scarlet Letter. The Scarlet Letter study guide contains a biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne This Essay The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and other 64,+ term papers, college essay examples and free essays are available now on timberdesignmag.com4/4(1). Throughout the novel, The Scarlet Letter, the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses a few key symbols to represent major themes in the timberdesignmag.com most obvious and well known, as it is in the title, is the scarlet letter Hester is forced to wear.
Three other symbols are the scaffold, the sun, and the forest. Introduction. Born on 4 th July, in Salem, Massachusetts, Nathaniel Hawthorne established himself as one of the greatest American writer. He is best known for his short stories, most of which were written between , and two of his famous novels which brought to him international fame- The Scarlet Letter (mid-march ) and The House of Seven Gables ().
Nathaniel Hawthorne: Nathaniel Hawthorne, American novelist and short-story writer who was a master of the allegorical and symbolic tale. One of the greatest fiction writers in American literature, he is best known for The Scarlet Letter () and The House of the Seven Gables ().
Hawthorne’s ancestors had lived.