The Scarlet Letter exposes the moral rigidity of a 17th-Century
Puritan New England community when faced with the illegitimate
child of a young mother. Regarded as the first real heroine of
American fiction, it is Hester Prynne's strength of character that
resonates with the reader when her harsh sentence is cast. It is in
her refusal to reveal the identity of the father in the face of her
accusers that Hawthorne champions his heroine and berates the
weakness of Society for attacking the innocent.