Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in Massachusetts. The guilt he felt about their persecution of the Quakers and their participation in the Salem "Witch Trials" provided a theme for many of his stories. He wasn’t interested in undertaking a traditional profession, so he started writing short stories, which were published in various magazines. He travelled around Europe, and he live in France and Italy. After this period he returned in Massachusetts, where he spent his last years. Nathaniel Hawthorne died in 1864. In 1828 he published his first work, the Gothic novel “Fanshawe”. His most famous story is “The Scarlet Letter”. During his last years he worked on three novels, but left them unfinished.
The Scarlet Letter
The story begins when Hester moved to Massachusetts. There she discovered that her husband's ship is wrecked, and believing him dead, she had an illegitimate daughter. After prison the punishment obliged her to stand in the town pillory for an hour with her daughter, but she was also forced to wear a red letter "A" (for adulteress) on her chest for the rest of her life because she refused to say the name of her daughter's father. Because he helped the poor and sewed for the townspeople, the begin to accept her back into the community, reinterpreting the letter "A" no for adulteress but "A" for able or angel. The couple decided to leave together with Pearl for Europe, but Hester's husband discovered the plan and bought a ticket on the same ship. So, subsequently Dimmesdale went into the town pillory and, publicly declaring his sin, he opens his shirt revealing an "A" on chest.