what is the scarlet letter about

The Scarlet Letter Plot Overview

What is the scarlet letter about ? The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne conceives with a prelude. Into it, an unnamed narrator tells the tales of the novel. While working as a tax collector agency (custom house), the narrator discovers a manuscript with a Scarlett letter ‘A’ in the attic. Losing his job, he, the narrator, decides to develop the story explained in the manuscript into a novel. Thus, the novel The Scarlet Letter has become a full-fledged novel.


The novel mirrors seventeenth-century Boston city which was governed by the strict law of the Puritan society. In the novel, Hester Prynne is the main protagonist; the story also begins with her being behind the prison with her infant Pearl who is considered to be a demon child in society while the narrator presents her a gift of God, she is plucked from a rose bush.  The letter ‘A’ is embroidered with bright red threads on her chest as a symbol of shame, rejection, and sin for violating the law of the religion of Puritan.


As per her punishment, she is forced to climb a scaffold to face the crowd who awaits for hearing about the man who has committed such a crime with her. Chilling worth is her husband. But Hester made a secret relationship with Dimmesdale who gave birth to Pearl. To save pearl and Hester, Dimmesdale consults Hester to flee.


In full confidence, Hester and Dimmesdale decide to flee to Europe with Pearl. Hester makes plans to leave Boston on a ship bound for England in four days. However, in the meantime Dimmesdale sees changes taking over him with an urge of speaking blasphemy to the strangers. He got sick, maybe a secret sin is punishing him.


When Dimmesdale meets Chillingworth at home, he says to Chillingworth that the fresh air outside is so fresh that he does not need any medicine now. However, Chillingworth suspects instead that he might have met Hester. Therefore, he believes that Dimmesdale is recovering soon mentally and physically.


After the death of Dimmesdale, Chillingworth also dies in a year. On his death, he bequeathed Pearl the share of his property in England and New England. Actually, no one knows what happened to Pearl later. But it is believed that she fell in love and got married.


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