[A woman’s sufferings from cruel treatment and humiliation of Puritan society]
Chapter I – The Prison Door
An old prison in Boston presented a contrast between its dreary door and—strangely—the freshness of wild rosebush near the threshold.
The contrast is representing good moral that will be fighting against the Puritan.
Ann Hutchinson is a Puritan woman, courageous exponent of civil liberty and religious toleration.
Black flower of civilized society.
Chapter II – The Market Place
Hester Prynne—holding her baby—was brought out of the prison with a scarlet letter ‘A’ embroidered on her breast, to be paraded to the market place where she was exhibited to public shame for her sin: adultery; but she confronted the condemning eyes of spectators with dignity and elegance. Meanwhile, a series of memories about her past crossed her mind; from her childhood, about a man with slightly deformed feature and a bright future she might have had.
The women hated Hester more than the men, jealousy? (p. 44-46)
Chapter III – The Recognition
From the crowd Hester recognized a man with slightly deformed figure, and became alarmed; the strange man recognized her too before he learned the complete version of Hester’s story: wife of an intelligent English man who sent her away two years ago, then committed an adultery until giving birth to a baby. The clergymen (Rev. Wilson and young Rev. Dimmesdale) persuaded Hester to confess who her lover was, but she refused to speak up.
The young clergyman, in spite of his task to make Hester talk, seemed to admire her brave for holding the truth: “She will not speak…wondrous strength and generosity of a woman’s heart! She will not speak!”
It was whispered: ‘The scarlet letter threw a lurid gleam along the dark passageway of the prison’.
Chapter IV – The Interview
Hester and the baby need physician, and the man who recognized her in the market place came for the call; made draught for both mother and baby. Roger Chillingworth—the name he called himself—did not want to avenge, he admitted his folly by marrying a much younger girl who did not love him, then made Hester swore to keep his identity as her husband, and promised her that he would somehow find the mysterious lover she kept the secret.
Roger Chillingworth last words: ‘not thy soul’…did it mean that he would take avenge to Hester’s lover?