The Scarlet Letter was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850. It is considered to be the high point of his writing career. I am not quite sure what the genre of this novel would be, though it calls itself a romance.
The plot of the Scarlet Letter follows Hester Prynne, who has been forced to wear the letter 'A' on her dress, for committing adultery. In the time of the story, bearing a child (Pearl) without being married was a great crime, and was punished by the embarassment of having to wear the 'scarlet letter'.
However, over time, people begin to misinterpret the letter as meaning that she is an important part of high society, due to the color and design of the letter.
It is later revealed that the minister of the town was the father of the child, but they kept it a secret for various reasons. Roger Chillingworth, Hester's wayward husband eventually finds out about their plans to run away together, and is about to have his revenge when the minister confesses what he has done, and dies.
Characters Two main characters in The Scarlet Letter are Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale. Hester is the mother of Pearl, and is later revealed to be the lover of Dimmesdale. She is the main character in the novel, and bears the letter A on her dress. Dimmesdale is a minister in Boston. Throughout almost all of the story, the general public doesn't know about his role in the birth of Pearl. However, fairly early on in the story, Hester's uncaring husband returns and finds out about it, and plots his revenge. Dimmesdale dies at the end of the story, and it is discovered that he bears the letter A on his skin.
The setting of The Scarlet Letter is Puritan Boston in the 17th century. Punishments for crimes are very harsh, and one of the main crimes focused on in this novel is the adultery committed by Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale. Because of this crime to Puritan law, Hester is forced to bear the letter 'A' on her dress.
Most of the story is set in the outskirts of Boston, but the major events are set in Boston itself.
I think that the purpose of this novel was mainly just to provide an interesting story for the reader. However, it could possibly be to show the reader how unfair Puritan society in Boston was during the 17th century.
I found the novel to be interesting. I would not by any stretch say that it was the best I have ever read, nor would I read it again. However, that is not to say it wasn't a good story. My major problem with it was that it was long, and at some points, difficult to follow due to my wandering mind. It was also assigned in large portions, given 2 weeks to read it.
I believe that the novel is a classic, even if it is just because it is a novel that seems to easily integrate into High School English classes.