Fucking A Summary

Fucking A is a play inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter and first performed in 2000.

  • Abortionist Hester Smith is informed that her son, Boy, has died in prison, where he was sent after stealing food from the Rich Family as a child.
  • Rich Girl, now the First Lady, becomes pregnant with the child of Monster, an escaped convict who is revealed to be Hester’s son.
  • Unaware that Monster is the baby’s father, Hester takes revenge upon the First Lady by aborting her child. She then kills Monster in order to spare him from bounty hunters.

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Last Updated on May 10, 2021, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 932

At one point in time, Hester Smith worked for the Rich Family as a maid with her son, Boy Smith. However, one day while he was still a child, Boy stole a cut of meat from the Rich Family’s pantry and was caught in the act by Rich Girl, who told her father. Rich Girl’s betrayal led to Boy’s arrest and Hester being given the choice between a prison sentence and becoming an abortionist. Distraught, Hester bit Boy’s left arm before he was dragged away by the police so that she would be able to recognize him no matter how long they were apart. She then bit her own arm in the same spot so they would have matching scars. Boy was taken to prison, and Hester was forced to become an abortionist.

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The play opens thirty years later. Boy is still in prison, and Hester has been slowly paying the Freedom Fund in order to secure his release. In this dystopian society, all abortionists are branded with a letter A just above their left breast that must remain visible at all times. The audience is introduced to Canary Mary, a prostitute and Hester’s only friend, who has been paid to be the exclusive mistress of the Mayor. It is revealed that the Mayor’s wife, the First Lady, is in fact Rich Girl and that he is threatening to divorce her over her alleged infertility. Canary and Hester, who blames the First Lady for her son’s imprisonment, are both hoping that the Mayor will assassinate the First Lady and marry Canary instead.

That night, on a park bench overlooking the sea, Canary meets a mysterious man who is later revealed to be the runaway convict Monster. At a nearby tavern, three Hunters who earn their living by tracking down and torturing runaway prisoners are hoping that the famous convict will arrive in their town so they can make a name for themselves. Later, the First Lady, despondent and knowing that her husband will try to assassinate her if she doesn’t fall pregnant soon, comes to the same park bench overlooking the sea. She meets Monster, and the two embark on a passionate affair.

Meanwhile, Hester has saved enough money that the Freedom Fund will allow her to have a picnic with Boy—the first time the two will see each other in over thirty years. She tells the town Butcher, who gently flirts with her. The next morning, however, Hester’s house is robbed by Monster, who threatens to murder her if she doesn’t give him all her food and money. While Hester hands him the money, Monster sees the scar on her left arm and immediately leaves in a state of shock. Relieved that she still has enough money for the picnic, Hester readies herself and leaves for the prison.

At the prison, a prisoner named Jailbait is led out for the picnic with Hester. After initially being overwhelmed with joy at the reunion, Hester quickly realizes that the prisoner has no scars on either arm and is not her son. She immediately inquires after her son, and Jailbait claims to have murdered a man named Boy Smith. Hester spirals into despair at the news of her beloved son’s death and swears vengeance on the First Lady, whom she still blames for all her misfortunes.

The play cuts to the park bench overlooking the sea, where the First Lady is meeting Monster. He attempts to extort her and demands she give him ten thousand gold coins by midnight. When she threatens to snitch on him to the Hunters, Monster threatens to murder her. The First Lady flees and, after realizing she has fallen pregnant with Monster’s child, goes to Hester’s abortion clinic. However, while waiting outside, the First Lady realizes that this child might be her ticket to safety if she passes it off as the Mayor’s, and she immediately leaves to break the news to her husband.

Hester goes to Butcher with the intention of asking him to help her murder the First Lady when the Mayor comes in and joyously announces that his wife is finally with child. Hester revises her plan and decides to force an abortion on the First Lady rather than murder her, thus “rip[ping] her child away from her like she ripped mine from me.” Just before the First Lady is scheduled to arrive for their “talk,” Hester is interrupted by Monster’s entrance. He eventually reveals his true identity as Boy Smith, Hester’s son, and begs her for help, as the Hunters are on his trail. Hester refuses to believe that her angelic Boy could have turned into the hardened criminal Monster and turns him away.

The First Lady arrives, having been drugged by Canary and transported by Butcher, and Hester aborts her child—thus unintentionally causing the death of her own grandchild. After the First Lady is whisked away by Canary and Butcher, Hester has a change of heart and starts putting together a bundle of food for Monster. However, before she is finished, Monster arrives on her doorstep. The baying of hounds is heard in the distance, and Monster knows that if he is captured by the Hunters, he will face torture and an excruciating death. He begs Hester to kill him before the Hunters have a chance to catch him, and after cradling him in her lap, Hester slits her son’s throat. The Hunters arrive and drag away the body, and Hester is left alone.

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