Hester Prynne, a young woman living in 17th-century Boston, commits adultery and gives birth to a little girl she calls Pearl. Hester refuses to reveal who fathered her child, and, this being Puritan country, pays a hefty cost: she must wear a scarlet letter "A on her chest. Like so many other single mothers before and since, Hester supports herself, resists community officials' attempts to take Pearl away and, most importantly, teaches her daughter that no amount of public shame can diminish what is inside you. "This badge hath taught me it daily teaches me it is teaching me at this moment whereof my child may be the wiser and the better," Hester says. Little do they know that Hester is really teaching her daughter about pride rather than their imposed lesson on shame, and for that, she wins stealthy great mom honors.
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