Through the years, the child, Pearl, grows into an unusual, “impish sprite” and Hester begins to find her way in a shunning society as a seamstress. Hester adorns her “A” with gold thread and much ornate embroidery. (In my book club discussion we liked to say she “bedazzled” it.) Dimmesdale punishes himself for his sin and becomes physically ill. Roger Chillingworth, a self-educated, intelligent man, re-invents himself as a doctor and moves in with Dimmesdale in order to treat his illness. Chillingworth quickly figures out that Dimmesdale was Hester’s illicit partner and set about to ruin mental and physical well-being.
This book of classic literature is rife with symbolism, foreshadowing, and lectures on morality. Hester’s character confused and delighted me. I was confused as to why she would allow both of the men in her life to remain in secret while she is so openly reviled. However, her in-your-face independence with her “bedazzled A” and making her own way in a male-dominated society, made me stand up and cheer.
There is also quite a message of true repentance. One can see Hester’s peace of mind from having her sin out in the open and taking her punishment with humility versus the agony that Dimmesdale endures while hiding his sin. And then there is Chillingworth and his own brand of evil; he becomes a grizzled old man, showing us that Satan does not support his minions.
All of that being said, you must ‘get into the lingo’ of
4 Stars (Rated PG for adult themes)