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The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a novel set in the Puritan society of Boston Massachusetts in the 1640s The Puritan government was strictly based upon religion and the laws in the Bible All sins were punished with sure consequence Hawthornes depiction through his descriptions of this Puritan society creates a vision of a dark gloomy world a world without joy or happiness In such a society as this where laws regulated nearly every aspect of life its not surprising that natural human emotions and impulses could not constantly be repressed It is the act of giving into the sin of forbidden passion committing adultery that causes one of the main charactersHester Prynn to be punished and shamed for the rest of her life Hawthorne reveals little of the background of Hester Prynn He does make known the fact that she is married to a scholarly man and has come from Amsterdam to settle in the New England town of Boston Her husband was supposed to soon follow her but in two years time he still had not arrived It was during the two years she was alone in Boston that Hester became pregnant While the Puritan punishment for adultery was death because she was so young and her husband was likely to be dead she was mercied with the sentence of standing on a scaffold in the towns market place in front of the entire community to be publicly shamed for three hours The humiliation did not end with the time spent on the scaffold as she was also sentenced to forever wear a symbol of the adulterated sin she had committed a single letter A on her bosom Hesters extreme pride and great inner strength were revealed the instant she was brought to the scaffold As the town-beadle the societys administrator of punishment put his hand on her shoulder to draw her forward to the scaffold she repelled him by
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