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Word Count: 868
Significance of The Letter A The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a novel that takes place in a Puritan community during the middle of the seventeenth century The story is concerning a woman named Hester Prynne who had an affair with a man by the name of Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale This occurred after her husband inexplicably failed to join her in Boston after their emigration to America from England Hester soon gives birth to a child and is from then on condemned by her fellow townspeople This condemnation consists of the town forcing her to wear the letter A upon her bosom Throughout the book the letter A takes various shapes and forms for different people The first person for whom the letter A takes shape for is Hester Prynne For Hester the A can represent adulteress ashamed artist able armor alienation apostle and angel Hester commits adultery with Reverend Dimmesdale a man who is not her husband Her sin comes to the publics attention when Hester becomes pregnant a task not possible by her husband since he had been missing for two years The term adulteress is placed down on her as a punishment for going against the puritan ways and having intercourse with a man other than her husband The A is supposed to be used as a form of punishment but Hester does not see it that way The town places the A upon her bosom because it is meant to be a symbol of shame but instead it becomes a more powerful symbol of identity to Hester The letters meaning shifts as time passes They wanted her to be ashamed of what she had done During the seventeenth century adultery was viewed as a high crime In most cases a person who had committed such a sin would be put to death Hester however was seen as too beautiful to be put to death so she was merely
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