A powerful study of bigotry, persecution, obsession and hypocrisy in early American society, the "Penguin Classics" edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's. "The Scarlet Letter" contains an introduction by Nina Baym and notes by Thomas E. Connolly. Set in the harsh Puritan community of seventeenth-century Boston, "The Scarlet Letter" is the story of ...
A powerful study of bigotry, persecution, obsession and hypocrisy in early American society, the "Penguin Classics" edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's. "The Scarlet Letter" contains an introduction by Nina Baym and notes by Thomas E. Connolly. Set in the harsh Puritan community of seventeenth-century Boston, "The Scarlet Letter" is the story of Hester Prynne, a married woman who has an affair and gives birth to an illegitimate daughter. Condemned by society for her adultery, she is forced to wear a scarlet A for 'Adulteress' on her dress for the rest of her life. Publicly disgraced and ostracised, Hester refuses to name her lover - drawing on her strength and certainty of spirit to emerge as the first true heroine of American fiction. Hester bears her shame with dignity, and attitudes towards her soften as time passes; Arthur Dimmesdale, her lover, is steadily consumed by his guilt, having disavowed his passion for Hester and any love for their daughter Pearl; while her husband is destroyed by his determination to discover the lover's identity. In her introduction Nina Baym explores how "The Scarlet Letter" was not written as realistic, historical fiction but as a 'romance' a creation of the imagination that discloses the truth of the human heart. Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-64) was born in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1825 he graduated from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, and returned to Salem determined to become a writer. He joined Brook Farm, a utopian experiment in communal living, before marrying in 1842. His writing had already secured some success with his "Twice-Told Tales", but it was the publication of "The Scarlet Letter" in 1850 that brought him immediate recognition, followed a year later by "The House of the Seven Gables". If you enjoyed "The Scarlet Letter", you might like Henry James's "The Portrait of A Lady", also available in "Penguin Classics".
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Written in 1850 and set in Puritan Boston in the 1600s, The Scarlet Letter tells the story of Hester Prynne and her punishment for committing adultery. The novel develops the themes of sin, punishment, isolation, and redemption. The letter A worn by Hester Prynne means adultery but could also mean able or afflicted depending on how one interprets the book. I liked this story very much but I found the writing style a bit ponderous at times. Still, this is a good historical novel dealing with sin and suffering in a historical context.
Dec 3, 2009
Women's Rights in Puritan Times
I am not done with the book - I am about half-way through. But I am enjoying this book even though the book is a realistic view of women's rights set during the 1600's America. It is not easy reading but the book has given me topics to review and contemplate.
Nov 19, 2009
Red Letter Book
I found ?The Scarlet Letter? to be first rate. Well written and descriptive of the period. I?m sorry that it took me so many years to get around to reading it. Most people read it in high school.
Nov 18, 2008
This is a great classic book. I really enjoyed it when we had to read as a class in highschool my first year. It's great for class discussions.
Oct 9, 2007
I really loved this book in college. Hester really is a hero readers can admire. She shows more courage and dignity than any of the male characters in the book. Certainly she has flaws, but her strength over shadows them. This story of love and redemption is a classic tale that should be read by everyone.
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