The Scarlet Letter is a movie that has changed many times and in this summary I will try
to stick to this one movie, even though I may compare it to the novel. As you already
know, The Scarlet Letter was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne dealing with the times of
the Salem witch trials and puritan life. It is said that Hawthorne was very focused on
these times because he felt guilty because his ancestors sent many men and women
through various trails including burning and drowning them. Hawthorne is a great writer
and one of my personal favorites, he writes in such a way that a vision is formed in your
mind and he shows the feelings of those in his stories, real or imagined.
For preset the movie is told from Pearl’s eyes as if looking back on the lover her
mother and father shared and their trials to be together. It begins with Mistress Hester
Prin coming to the colonies without her husband, which many viewed as odd anyway.
Hester finds her a nice cottage on the coast and precedes to buy help and live fairly
normal. Many look down on her because she is alone and they expect something terrible
of her. There is a group of women that take her in because they too are shunned from
society, this group includes Harriet, she is very helpful and friendly to Hester throughout
the movie. One day while Hester is gardening she sees a red bird and follows it to where
she sees a young man swimming in the nude. On the Sabbath on her way to church her
carriage gets stuck in the mud, and the nude swimmer helps her and admits that he has
been trespassing on her property. The two get to town and he disappears before she can
get his name. Then she enters and sits and he enters the pulpit. After the service they are
properly introduced and he finds out that she is married. You can see in his eyes that this
truly hurts him especially since many, many women introduce her to him as Mrs. Roger
Prin. The two a obviously very intrigued with each other and eventually their passion is
freed on a chance meeting. Hester then realizes she is pregnant and one of the ladies that
also joins her at Harriet’s told the elders, because she had saw Hester throw up in the
morning hours. Hester refused to reveal the father and lie in prison until her child was
born. Rev. Dimsdale came to visit everyday and everyday he was turned away, he really
loved Hester and did not want her to suffer alone, but promised to keep the secret
paternity until she said otherwise. After Pearl, the bastard child, was born, Dimsdale
came to baptize the child and it was the first time he saw and held his only child. After
these events, the two were set free from the prison, but Hester was sentenced to wear her
shame for all to see, she was required to wear an A pinned to her bosom at all times and
when she was in town, there was a drummer hired to follow her around. Hester thought
her husband Roger was dead but he soon came around after being an Indian prisoner for a
while. He said that he would not punish her for this behavior but the man that wouldn’t
step out from behind her skirttails. Roger pretended to be a doctor to probe the minds
and hearts of the community to find out who was his betrayer. Once watching the
reverend for a while and seeing him go to the scaffold and puncture himself on a nightly
basis, he realizes that this man is the one in the wrong. He then contrives a plan to kill
him that he had learned from the Indians. One night Hester heard a noise outside her
cottage and went out to investigate and called out Arthur’s name, only he was not the one
there. It was a man that had had his eye on Hester since she arrived. He was trying to
rape her when she jabbed a candle into his eye, and he left in a hurry on his horse.
Roger, also thinking that the returning man was Dimsdale jumped him from a tree in the
woods and scalped him. As the body was brought back into town the next morning,
Roger is enjoying his prize and at that moment realizes that he has killed the wrong man,
and hangs himself for he sure that he will be found out. Somewhere at about this point
Hester, Pearl, Harriet, and many other women are accused of witchcraft and sentenced to
hang. At the moment when the women are on the scaffold, Arthur comes forward with
the truth about everything and volunteers to hang for there is no witchcraft it is simply a
sin that implanted these fears in the community. As Arthur slips his neck into the noose
and all watch and cheer “Hang Him!”, the council won’t allow it and he is free. The
three are then a family and bury Roger and leave the town that caused them all such pain.

I really enjoyed the movie even though it strayed from the novel on various
occasions, such as how they met and why Harriet was shunned, because in the novel she
was the Sunday school teacher. Anyway, the story line was basically the same and it was
very enjoyable. It showed many of the things that people did years and years ago and the
beliefs that they shared. It gave a view of this so-called Christian world when people
were indicted and sentenced for the slightest thing and freedom didn’t really exist. It
allowed you to slip back in time and you could feel Hester’s beliefs and pains. Also the
pain of Arthur from his hiding his guilt for so long. The love story allows you to get lost
in the story line and know that the two of them had a real love, a strong love.

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