An "A" for "adultery" marks Hester Prynne as an outcast from the society of colonial Boston. Although forced by the puritanical town fathers to wear a badge of shame, Hester steadfastly resists their efforts to discover the identity of her baby's father. Masterful in its symbolism and compelling in its character studies, Nathaniel Hawthorne's tale of punishment and reconciliation examines the concepts of sin, guilt, and pride.
The Scarlet Letter was published to immediate acclaim in 1850. Its timeless exploration of moral and spiritual issues, along with its philosophical and psychological insights, keep it ever relevant for students of American literature and lovers of fiction.