The Scarlet Letter is a book revealing lives of sin, social identity, and humanity. The story displays some of the darkest elements of the human soul: guilt, revenge, and evil. With its complex, emotional plot and its rich symbolism, this masterpiece has become a highly prized classic in American literature. .
The book opens with a chapter called "The Custom House," in which the narrator of the book writes a long description recalling his days as the chief executive officer of the Customs House in Salem, Massachusetts. He describes the customs house as a run-down, half-finished building located on a rotting dock and characterizes his coworkers as elderly and incompetent. One day as he is exploring the vacant second story of the erection he discovers a red and gold piece of fabric in the shape of the letter "A." After he examines the material, he uncovers a manuscript wrapped in the cloth, which he later reads. Jonathan Pue, a customs surveyor, wrote the composition a hundred years before, about an account of events that happened in the mid-seventeenth century. The narrator reads it and subsequently decides to write a fictional story out of Hester Prynne's experiences. Though he knows his story will not be exactly accurate in facts, he trusts that his novel will remain true to the actual chronicle of the original manuscript. When a new customs officer is elected, he loses his job and begins the write his novel. .
"A throng of bearded men, in sad-coloured garments and grey steeple-crowned hats, inter-mixed with women, some wearing hoods, and others bareheaded, was assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes." First describing the prison, the first scene of the book sets the expression for the first parts of the book, a gray and gloomy environment with a multitude of people to match the mood. The crowd is apparently waiting in front of the prison door for someone to come out of the imposing building.