Hester Pryne is a young woman who is married to an older doctor named Roger Chillingsworth. She was sent ahead to Puritan America to set up the household before his return. Roger's return is curtailed after he is captured by Indians. Hester is not aware of this fact.
Hester meets and has an affair with the Reverend Dimmsdale. She becomes pregnant and has a baby girl whom she names Pearl. She names her Pearl because of the cost that having the child has inflicted upon her life.
Hester is put on public display on a scaffold and forced to wear a scarlet letter "A" on her clothing the rest of her life for her sin of adultery. The people try to get her to reveal who her mate was but Hester is adamant that she will not name him.
Hester is an independent woman. She is an extremely good seamstress and despite her separateness from the people, they still have to rely on her for their sewing of nice clothing. Hester is able to support her daughter and her nicely.
Hester is a good mother who allows Pearl to explore nature. She stays in love with Dimmsdale and does not ever try to force him to quit and go to her. When he goes to her in later years she demonstrates that she has longed for it for many years.
When the Reverend finally does admit his role, he calls her up to the scaffold with him. She goes willingly. After his death she and her daughter leave. Years later when she returns things have changed, and she becomes a counselor to many women who need to talk about their problems.
Hester is a non-traditional woman who has strong beliefs, becomes self-actualized, and is committed to raising her daughter with confidence in herself.