Ah! The tale of Puritan punishment. Yes, Hester Prynne must spend the rest of her days wearing the scarlet letter for her adultery. As most of you know, the father of the child is the Pastor of the church. There is a great deal of speculation as to Hawthorne’s purpose in writing this work. Most people are of the opinion that it was a critique of the Puritans during this period.
I don’t know how historically accurate a representation of the Puritans this is. But I have to say, I wouldn’t want to live in this town. From a theological point of view, they are so focused on righteousness and the law that they forget the grace and forgiveness of God. Well in all fairness I guess they didn’t completely forget grace. I mean Hester by right should have been executed. She was spared because the Magistrates felt that it was more likely than not that her husband had died at sea. I guess from their perspective, she was probably at most guilty of fornication.
One of the things I found interesting about this book was that Pearl, the daughter, wasn’t so much a character as a representation of an idea. It was said in the book from the way Hester dressed her that Pearl was the living embodiment of the Scarlet Letter.