The Scarlet Letter
“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true…” - Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter The Scarlet Letter is a historical fiction, first published in 1850 by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is considered his “masterwork”. Set in 17th-century Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony, during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of a “fallen” woman, her vengeful and incognito husband, and a charismatic young minister harbouring a terrible secret. The female protagonist, Hester Prynne, conceives a daughter through an affair and is publicly shamed for adultery. She wears the titular red “A” on her breast, marking her as an adulteress. In her arms she bears Pearl, the daughter born of sin. The book explores the theme of sin, repentance, dignity, honour and courage.