An "A" for "adultery" marks Hester Prynne as an outcast from the society of colonial Boston. Although forced by the puritanical town fathers to wear a bright red badge of shame, Hester steadfastly resists their efforts to discover the identity of her baby's father. The return of her long-absent spouse brings new pressure on the young mother, as the aggrieved husband undertakes a long-term plot to reveal Hester's partner in adultery and force him to share her disgrace. Masterful in its symbolism and compelling in its character studies, Nathaniel Hawthorne's tale of punishment and reconciliation examines the concepts of sin, guilt, and pride. The Scarlet Letter was published to immediate acclaim in 1850. Its timeless exploration of moral and spiritual issues, along with its philosophical and psychological insights, keep it ever relevant for students of American literature and lovers of fiction. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.