Prynne, Hester

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One of Nathaniel Hawthorne's memorable literary characters.

Hester Prynne was a character in Nathaniel Hawthorne's famous book, "The Scarlet Letter." According to Phillip Bergen of the Bostonian Society, no one person was the model for the character. Hawthorne may have modeled Prynne after two Massachusetts women. One, Elizabeth Paine, was tried in 1683 for murder of her child. There is a capital A, which meant adulteress in colonial times, on her grave in the burial ground at Boston's King's Chapel, which Hawthorne was known to visit. The other, Hester Craford, was convicted of adultery in Salem in 1668 by Judge William Hathorne, an ancestor of the author.

See Also

"Index card" in snag file at Ref. desk for quote by Phillip Bergen

Nathaniel Hawthorne; a Biography by A. Turner, p.202-06

Readings on the Scarlet Letter ed. E. Morey