"A perfect work of the American imagination."-D.H Lawrence "The Scarlet Letter is so terrible in its pictures of diseased human nature as to produce most questionable delights. The reader's interest never flags for a moment...Hawthorne, when you have studied him, will be very precious to you. He will have plunged you into melancholy, he will have overshadowed you with black forebodings, he will almost have crushed you with imaginary sorrows; but he will have enabled you to feel yourself an inch taller during the process." ...
"A perfect work of the American imagination."-D.H Lawrence "The Scarlet Letter is so terrible in its pictures of diseased human nature as to produce most questionable delights. The reader's interest never flags for a moment...Hawthorne, when you have studied him, will be very precious to you. He will have plunged you into melancholy, he will have overshadowed you with black forebodings, he will almost have crushed you with imaginary sorrows; but he will have enabled you to feel yourself an inch taller during the process."-Anthony Trollope Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is a razor-sharp novel set in a seventeen-century puritan community. The book examines the contradictions of good and evil, what is apparent and what is hidden, and the power of redemption. After Hester Prynne, the protagonist of The Scarlet Letter, has a child out of wedlock, she is branded with the scarlet letter "A" on her dress. Shunned in her community as she refused to identify the father of her child, Hester lives with in a small cottage with her daughter, Pearl. Roger Chillingworth, an elderly physician, joins the community, and unbeknownst to all except for Hester, he is her long-departed husband, who was presumed to be dead. In his absence, Hester had an affair and subsequently gave birth to a child. Covertly aiming for revenge on the father of the child, Chillingworth descends on Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, the young minister who he suspects in the illicit affair. Within the remarkable character of Hester, Hawthorne examines female independence and the complexities of sin. With a surprising emotional pitch and powerful insights into the human condition, this is one of America's greatest novels. With an eye-catching new cover, and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of The Scarlet Letter is both modern and readable.
The novel begins with the narrator, a Custom House official, who happens to find a scarlet letter "A" in a box he finds one day in the office. The narrator then relates the story of Hester Prynne, the original bearer of the scarlet letter, who lived in Boston when it was just a small Puritan settlement in the seventeenth century.
Hester's story begins on a scaffold just outside the town prison. She has committed adultery, given birth to a child out of wedlock, and refuses to name the man with whom she had the affair. The village leaders hope to shame her into naming her lover by making her into a public spectacle. Even under intense pressure, Hester refuses to reveal her secret. She alone must bear the shame and isolation resulting from her actions. As a punishment, Hester is made to wear a scarlet letter "A" on her chest at all times. The letter "A" stands for adultery and causes her and her daughter to be scorned by the members of her community.
Jun 22, 2015
Sin and Punishment in Puritan Boston
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.
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