Set in 17th century Boston, a puritan community, Hester Prynne gives birth to a daughter, Pearl, after committing adultery. Refusing to name her lover, she is forced to wear the scarlet letter "A" as punishment for her secrecy and adulterous crime. Shamed by the community, Hester attempts to create a new life. Hester Prynne is the first true heroine of American fiction. The Scarlet Letter is Nathaniel Hawthorne's masterpiece.