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The Scarlet Letter

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The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not to tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers -- stern and wild ones -- and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss. -- Nathaniel Hawthorne

As she emerges from the prison of a Puritan New England town, Hester Prynne defies the dark gloom much as the rose blooms against the prison door. With her illegitimate baby, Pearl, clutched in her arms and the letter A -- the mark of an adulteress -- embroidered in scarlet thread on her breast, Hester holds her head high as she faces the malice and scorn of the townsfolk. Her powerful, bittersweet story is an American classic that continues to touch the hearts of modern readers with its timeless themes of guilt, passion and repentance.

Nathaniel Hawthorne was a novelist and short story writer, a central figure in the American Renaissance. Nathaniel Hawthorne's best-known works include The Scarlet Letter (1850) and The House of Seven Gables (1851). Like Edgar Allan Poe, Hawthorne took a dark view of human nature.
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