“A pure hand needs no glove to cover it.” The quotation which attracts every booklover and one becomes excited to know the core of the story. It is basically a well-structured and organized novel. All the events and incidents are described beautifully that a reader simply loves it.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is related to the story of Hester Prynne, a young lady who is living without her husband and is having an affair with the local pastor Arthur Dimmesdale.

The affair results in Hester giving birth to Dimmesdale’s child. When Hester Prynne comes for the trial with her child confronted by the public, as a punishment of adultery, she wears a sign ‘A’ that stands for adulteress. At the same time her husband visits Boston, where they recognize each other, but no one in the town knows about her husband. Everyone in the public, including her husband wanted to know about her lover and father of the child, but she refuses to disclose the name and opts for suffering. Her decision of not revealing her lover’s name changed her life completely.

Religion is considered as an important part of a Puritan community. In a puritan community, religion dictates each and every step, from daily routine to moral philosophy, of an individual and the society. Naturally, religious leaders are highly praised and people look upon them for guidance.

The Scarlet Letter played a crucial role in the Puritan community. Adultery was a major punishable sin, and public trials and punishments were used as a tool to prevent others from committing adultery or other crimes.

The Scarlet Letter reflects various shades of the Puritan society like relationships, religion, community, discipline and punishment, and is also a moral and psychological study of life. The novel outlines the consequences of sin on the individual as well as on the social level.

Dimmesdale health is failing day by day due to heart disease. Chillingworth, Hester Prynne’s husband, becomes Dimmesdale’s medical adviser and they start spending a lot of time together as he tries to diagnose the illness. He comes to know that his patient has some secret that pinches him every now and then. At last he has confirmed that the secret lover of his wife is none other than Dimmesdale.

Over the passing years the condition of Dimmesdale worsens and he find no way out except publicly confessing what he had done. But when his daughter Pearl wants to be publicly recognized by her father, he refuses which clearly reveals the dark side of Dimmesdale’s character.

At the end of novel Hester along with her daughter and lover wants to leave Boston and move to Europe so that they can live a happy life. But Dimmesdale dies before moving to another place and before death, he publicly confesses his sin. After the death of Dimmesdale, Prynne and her daughter leave Boston.

The story of The Scarlet letter has a Dark ending. It ends with Hester losing both her lover and her pride, as Dimmesdale prefers to preserve his moral standing instead of comforting his lover.

The Scarlet Letter is a mirror of the Puritan society. It is highly recommended to those who are interested to know about the history. This classic will surely prove to be a rapid page turner for history buffs and avid readers.

– Written by Umme Habiba

The writer is an MPhil student