The Scarlet Letter was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and was first published in 1850. Hawthorne’s purpose for The Scarlet Letter was to show how anybody can sin, and that sin should be used as an example to learn from. Hawthorne also made clear that good can come from sin and that sin can help a person grow.
Hester Prynne is the main character of the book. She is still young when she has her child, Pearl. She is a strong and determined, and uses her past sin, and the “A” as something to learn from rather than something to be ashamed of. After the shame of getting the “A,” she moved into the outskirts of town and became a seamstress. The way she was able to move on from her sin and continue her life, even after being scorned and humiliated, is proof of her strength. Years later, when her sin is almost completely forgotten her benevolence is shown in how she cares for the physical and spiritual needs of people in the community.
Pearl is Hester and Reverend Dimmesdale’s illegitimate daughter. Although Pearl is described as beautiful, throughout the book, she is consistently described as “impish” and “elfish.” These strange descriptions, as well as her odd behavior, make her seem inhuman, and make the townspeople view Pearl as sin-embodied and the devil-child. Pearl is very smart, and even at a young age she becomes aware of the scarlet letter and recognizes that is has some kind of significance. The quote, “One day, as her mother stooped over the cradle, the infant’s eyes had been caught by the glimmering of the gold embroidery about the letter, and, putting up her little hand, she grasped at it, smiling, not doubtfully, but with a decided gleam, that gave her face the look of a much older child.”, shows how she draws attention to the scarlet letter.
Roger Chillingworth is actually Hester’s husband in disguise. Chillingworth, when he first arrived in Boston, seemed to be a nice man who had good intentions of helping those that he could, but through the course of the novel he becomes unmistakably evil. He is known by several different names in the book, two of which are, “the leech,” and “the stranger.” He is known at first as “the stranger” because he shows up unexpectedly, and the Puritans do not know him. The name “the stranger” is also used to make him seem untrustworthy and possibly dangerous. After being called “the stranger,” he becomes known as “the leech.” In those times, doctors used leeches to suck out blood that was thought to be infected, with the intention of curing someone with a disease. Chillingworth being called a leech contrasts this because he sucks out the life out of Dimmesdale in order to take revenge on him for helping Hester to be unfaithful.
Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is an intelligent and emotional man who moved from England to Boston. He is Hester’s lover and Pearl’s father, although they are the only ones who know it. He is deeply convicted by the fact that Hester has to deal with public shame every day while he...