The Scarlet Letter is a movie that has changed many times and in this summary I will tryto stick to this one movie, even though I may compare it to the novel. As you alreadyknow, The Scarlet Letter was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne dealing with the times ofthe Salem witch trials and puritan life. It is said that Hawthorne was very focused onthese times because he felt guilty because his ancestors sent many men and womenthrough various trails including burning and drowning them.
Hawthorne is a great writerand one of my personal favorites, he writes in such a way that a vision is formed in yourmind 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 hermother and father shared and their trials to be together. It begins with Mistress HesterPrin 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 fairlynormal.
Many look down on her because she is alone and they expect something terribleof her. There is a group of women that take her in because they too are shunned fromsociety, this group includes Harriet, she is very helpful and friendly to Hester throughoutthe movie. One day while Hester is gardening she sees a red bird and follows it to whereshe sees a young man swimming in the nude. On the Sabbath on her way to church hercarriage gets stuck in the mud, and the nude swimmer helps her and admits that he hasbeen trespassing on her property.
The two get to town and he disappears before she canget his name. Then she enters and sits and he enters the pulpit. After the service they areproperly introduced and he finds out that she is married. You can see in his eyes that thistruly hurts him especially since many, many women introduce her to him as Mrs. RogerPrin. The two a obviously very intrigued with each other and eventually their passion isfreed on a chance meeting.
Hester then realizes she is pregnant and one of the ladies thatalso joins her at Harriet’s told the elders, because she had saw Hester throw up in themorning hours. Hester refused to reveal the father and lie in prison until her child wasborn. Rev. Dimsdale came to visit everyday and everyday he was turned away, he reallyloved Hester and did not want her to suffer alone, but promised to keep the secretpaternity until she said otherwise.
After Pearl, the bastard child, was born, Dimsdalecame to baptize the child and it was the first time he saw and held his only child. Afterthese events, the two were set free from the prison, but Hester was sentenced to wear hershame for all to see, she was required to wear an A pinned to her bosom at all times andwhen she was in town, there was a drummer hired to follow her around. Hester thoughther husband Roger was dead but he soon came around after being an Indian prisoner for awhile. He said that he would not punish her for this behavior but the man that wouldn’tstep out from behind her skirttails. Roger pretended to be a doctor to probe the mindsand hearts of the community to find out who was his betrayer.
Once watching thereverend for a while and seeing him go to the scaffold and puncture himself on a nightlybasis, he realizes that this man is the one in the wrong. He then contrives a plan to killhim that he had learned from the Indians. One night Hester heard a noise outside hercottage and went out to investigate and called out Arthur’s name, only he was not the onethere. It was a man that had had his eye on Hester since she arrived.
He was trying torape 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 thewoods 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 pointHester, Pearl, Harriet, and many other women are accused of witchcraft and sentenced tohang. At the moment when the women are on the scaffold, Arthur comes forward withthe truth about everything and volunteers to hang for there is no witchcraft it is simply asin that implanted these fears in the community. As Arthur slips his neck into the nooseand all watch and cheer “Hang Him!”, the council won’t allow it and he is free. Thethree 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 variousoccasions, such as how they met and why Harriet was shunned, because in the novel shewas the Sunday school teacher. Anyway, the story line was basically the same and it wasvery enjoyable. It showed many of the things that people did years and years ago and thebeliefs that they shared. It gave a view of this so-called Christian world when peoplewere indicted and sentenced for the slightest thing and freedom didn’t really exist. Itallowed you to slip back in time and you could feel Hester’s beliefs and pains. Also thepain of Arthur from his hiding his guilt for so long. The love story allows you to get lostin the story line and know that the two of them had a real love, a strong love.