Setting: Where and When does the action of the story take place?.
The story begins in seventeenth-century Boston, during a Puritan settlement. It takes place in Salem and Concord, Massachusetts; late 1840.
A young woman, Hester Pryne, is led from the town prison with her infant daughter, Pearl, in her arms and the scarlet letter "A" on her breast. A man in the crowd tells an elderly onlooker that Hester is being punished for adultery. Hester's husband, a scholar much older than she is, sent her ahead to America, but he never arrived in Boston. The consinsus is that he has been lost at sea. While waiting for her husband, Hester has apparently had an affair, as she has given birth to a child. She will not reveal her lover's identity, however, and the scarlet letter, along with her public shaming, is her punishment for her sin and her secrecy. On this day Hester is led to the town scafold and harangued by the town fathers, but she again refuses to identify her child's father.
2. Tell who each character is and describe their appearance, attitudes, motives and anything else that is important to know about the characters.
A. Hester is the book's protagonist and the wearer of the scarlet letter that gives the book its title. The letter, a patch of fabric in the shape of an "A," signifies that Hester is an "adulterer." As a young woman, Hester married an elderly skolar, Chillingworth, who sent her ahead to America to live but never followed her. While waiting for him, she had an affair with a Purtan minister named Dimmesdale, after which she gave birth to Pearl. Hester is passionate but also strong "she endures years of shame and scorn. She equals both her husband and her lover in her intelligence and thoughtfulness. Her alienation puts her in the position to make acute observations about her community, particularly about its treatment of women.
B. Roger Chillingworth is actually Hester's husband in disguise.