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Set in the staunchly Puritan world of 1600s Boston Hester Prynne has committed adultery and given birth to an illegitimate daughter, Pearl, while her elder husband is away. Refusing to reveal Pearl's father Hester is punished and scorned by the community and forced to wear a red letter "A". Over seven years Hester, Pearl's father, and Hester's estranged husband Roger Chillingworth, suffer the consequences of betrayal, guilt revenge, and humiliation.
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