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The Scarlet Letter

by: Nathaniel Hawthorn

Set in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts, a Puritan community, Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel begins with the public humiliation of a young woman named Hester Prynne. She emerges from the town prison, holding her infant daughter, Pearl, and wearing a scarlet letter "A" on her chest, signifying her act of adultery. Despite the intense pressure, Hester refuses to reveal the identity of her lover, and the scarlet letter becomes her enduring punishment and a symbol of her sin and secrecy. Hawthorne's narrative delves into themes of guilt, society's judgment, and the consequences of hidden truths in this gripping tale.