Written in the winter of 1849, The Scarlet Letter unfolds the story of Hester Prynne, a young woman branded as an adulteress in the harsh Puritan world of 17th-century New England. As Hester calls on her inner strength to transcend her shame, the scarlet letter ceases to be a stigma and finally becomes Hester's symbol of self-affirmation. This dramatic reading heightens the sense of lyric poetry that permeates every line of Nathaniel Hawthorne's great novel.
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