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Word Count: 1,371
The story takes place in the Puritan village of Boston Massachusetts during the first half of the 17th Century Several years before the novel begins Hester Prynne came to the New World to await the arrival of her husband who had business to conclude in Europe However Hesters husband was captured by Indians upon his arrival in New England and did not arrive in Boston as Hester expected While living alone in Boston and believing her husband dead Hester committed adultery and became pregnant The village magistrates imprisoned her for this sin and decreed she must wear a scarlet A on the bodice of her dress for the rest of her life While in prison Hester highly skilled in needlework elaborately embroidered the scarlet letter with gold thread Before her release from prison Hester was forced to stand on the public scaffold where all the villagers could see her As the story opens Hester is leaving the prison to take her position on the scaffold She wears the scarlet letter and carries with dignity her three-month-old daughter Pearl As Hester endures this public disgrace Roger Chillingworth an old man new to the village asks members of the crowd about her and learns as much of her story as is commonly known When he asks the identity of the childs father he discovers Hester has refused to divulge this information From the balcony overlooking the scaffold the young Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale also asks for this information and eloquently appeals to Hester to publicly name her partner in sin She refuses Upon her return to prison Hester is distraught and Roger Chillingworth a self-proclaimed physician comes to calm her and the babe Chillingworth who is actually Hesters husband refuses to publicly acknowledge her and share in her shame He makes Hester promise to keep his true identity secret and vows to discover and avenge himself on the man who has wronged him Hester and
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