In and Out of Scarlet Woods
By ice rivers
In and Out of the Scarlet Woods
Nobody saw them come out of the woods. Nobody saw them enter the woods. Nobody knew what went down in the woods except for Nathaniel Hawthorne who made the whole thing up and told everybody about it. Hawthorne was pissed off because he had just been fired from his shitty job in the customs office so he figured what the hell, I'll travel back in time and write a book about guilt that will live forever.
Hawthorne's imagination arrived 200 years earlier in Puritan Boston where they lived their lives according to the Bible. The church was the state and vice versa. Women were inferior. These were the good old days preparing the world for Iran of 2022.
One of the commandments/laws was "thou shalt not commit adultery". Whoops. Hester commits with the local minister of all people. Hester has a notion that women are not inferior and the whole system needs to be torn apart but she realizes that if she raises too big of a stink, the righteous folks will take daughter Pearl away from her so she takes a three hour shift on the pillory and agrees to wear the red letter A on her clothing and pull back her lustrous black hair.
If shame, humiliation, and sin were varsity sports Heather, according to the locals, had earned her letter and some. The town wanted death for her penalty but the wise, kindly and influential preacer Arthur Dimmesdale interceded on her behalf which was awfully large of him, the asshole.
Gradually, Dimmesdale the secret Baby Dada is racked with guilt. He's a Puritan preacher and has an overactive conscience which loses a battle to his bad boy self one night and the result is hypocrisy, bullshit,the public shaming of Hester, the costly existence of Pearl and the letter A.
Dimmesdale is emotionally dependent on Hester the letter woman who is also the mother of Pearl. They have a secret to conceal in order to protect Dimmesdale's rep as a powerful preacher and popular paragon. Dimmesdale seeks and needs public praise not only because of his private guilt but also because of his low self-esteem.
Hester suffers the slings and arrows in public while Dimmesdale flaggelates himself every night in private until he has beaten a permanent A onto his own chest which is discovered by Roger Chillingworth, who once was Hester's husband.
Roger is a deformed guy kinda like Richard third. He's a quack who claims he can cure Dimmesdale who is being consumed by guilt and the consumption is beginning to show.
One day, Pearl, Esther and Dimmesdale enter the woods together at the same time from different ends. They discover the answer to the ancient question "how far can you go into the woods" the answer of course is halfway and then you're heading out of the woods. So halfway into the woods they "accidentally" meet. Pearl who may or may not be wearing a mermaid outfit has long suspected that Dimmy was her Dad. Her suspicions become confirmed when in the woods Hester and Dimmy come clean. In one of the great erotic moves in all of literature, Hester removes her cap and reveals her awesome hair while removing the letter A from her chest. Pearl is outraged by the behavior and refuses to "cross the brook" until Hester refastens the scarlet letter and puts back her cap. Pearl wants Dimmy to man up and grow a pair by holding hands with her and Mom while they walk together out of the woods and into the public. Hester says "not now". Hawthorne says we've got another few chapters to go. Dimmy kisses Pearl's forehead which causes pissed off Pearl to run to the brook and wash the kiss from her forehead.
They walk out of the woods separately.
And the rest, they say, is literature.