Hester At Her Needle

Here, she said to herself, had been the scene of her guilt, and here should be the scene of her earthly punishment; and so, perchance, the torture of her daily shame would at length purge her soul, and work out another purity than that which she had lost; more saint-like, because the result of martyrdom.

Hester Prynne, therefore, did not flee.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, from The Scarlet Letter, Chapter V


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The Surprise of “The Scarlet Letter”

It’s been 50 years since I read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter in my high school American literature class. What I vaguely remembered was a story about a woman named Hester Prynne in Puritan New England, with a baby born out of wedlock, and the narrowminded colonists who took great pride in displaying their superiority over the sinful, fallen woman.


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