The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter

Book - 1984
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Publisher: Pleasantville, N.Y. : Reader's Digest Association, c1984.
ISBN: 9780895771841
Characteristics: 221 pages :,illustrations (some color) ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Quackenbush, Robert 1929-- Illustrator


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Sep 18, 2019

Honestly, sometimes you just need to read the critics reviews or comments here in order to understand what you just read. I sure am glad that I did, because due to some of the biblical English in the story, it did make it hard for me to understand what the story was about. But I did very much enjoy Hawthorne's storytelling. Loved how he introduced me to Boston in the first few chapters in the book.

Aug 24, 2019

A classic set in Colonial New England, The Scarlet Letter is a tale about guilt and redemption. After bearing a child out of wedlock and refusing to disclose the identity of its father, protagonist Hester Prynne suffers prejudice and discrimination from the Puritan town as she is forced to bear a scarlet “A” for “adulteress” on her bosom. While she struggles to raise her child, her presumedly deceased husband also arrives and is determined to take revenge on both her and her lover.

Despite its short length, The Scarlett Letter manages to incorporate a variety of symbols that reflects both the internal struggles of its characters and the oppressive larger social context. The changing dynamic between black and red, the shunned forest and embroidering are just a few. A moralistic and surprisingly Feminist tale, the book conveys the importance of recognizing one’s guilt and then assures of everyone’s possibility at redemption. The qualified “happy ending” not only heals the reader of the trauma she undergoes as she experiences the world through Hester’s eyes, but also underlines the idea that no one is perfect and that even the most malevolent actions are often motivated by legitimate reasons.

Slide to see pictures I took in Salem, Massachusetts (Hawthorne’s birth place) during a visit in 2016. The second picture is a carving of Giles Corey’s name, who was a real person adapted by Arthur Miller for his play “The Crucible,” set during the #SalemWitchTrials. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ancestor John Hawthorn was the only judge in the Trials who never repented of his actions.

For more reviews, visit me on Instagram @RandomStuffIRead !

Feb 19, 2018

A great novel indeed, however, the first section, "The Custom House" can be a bit of a grind to get through. After that, it's fantastic.

Sep 22, 2017

It was interesting, but a little slow. I may have dosed off during one of the chapters. The townspeople should have forgiven Hector for her sin, why? Because, We have all fallen short of the Glory of God.

May 24, 2016

It was an interesting book

britprincess1ajax May 08, 2016

A feminist novel that is not years but centuries before its time, THE SCARLET LETTER is an easy classic to read. It has beautifully ornate writing, but not in such a way as to stifle the point. The message is most profound and what one person gets out of this book may not be the same as the next one. Its many interpretations, despite an obviously clear-cut message, are a gift. I highly recommend it.

Nov 27, 2015

This isn't a thriller. It also isn't quick, snappy, shallow sentences. But it is a beautiful, truthful tale of courage and strength. It is about finding yourself and happiness amid a world that wishes you neither. It is about knowing you decide your fate, and no one's disapproval can bring you down.

Also, Dimmesdale is a wimpy coward of a man. Hester is a awesome!

May 27, 2015

Published in 1850, "The Scarlet Letter" follows Hester Prynne, a new mom who is besmirched after having an affair with one of the ministers in her judgmental New England town. She faces ostracism and is socially repressed for years. Will her lover face the music or will her life fall apart before he comes clean? You'll have to read it to find out. "The Scarlet Letter" was penned at a time when adultery was virtually criminal, but it leaves a message that is way beyond its years. The feminist qualities are admirable. Hester remained strong and self-assured, no matter what happened to her. Acknowledging this strength in a woman is unique, especially considering author Nathaniel Hawthorne's bland treatment of the usual prying and gossip-mongering ladies in town. There's a rich history of misogyny that runs in a vein through New England; the gender rights imbalance is most evident during the nasty witch-hunts, something "The Scarlet Letter" touches upon without shying away. The story ends sadly a few chapters before the end with the death of a major character that I didn't see coming (and I won't tell you who it is!), but the final chapter concludes the book perfectly. It ties up all loose ends, letting the reader know how other characters' lives turned out. It feels triumphant, giving the idea that people are constantly evolving. This growth is important -- something that was once considered sinful by everyone in those days is no longer considered such a terrible thing. However, the sorrow and pain inflicted throughout this novel may be off-putting for some readers. It seems that happiness doesn't exist in "The Scarlet Letter," unless you are a child. Unfortunately, these lows are what give the story such impact. Though it isn't a happy read, it has a deeper message of female empowerment in the end. Its protagonist suffers the fate of a pariah, but emerges as a self-sufficient hero in her Puritanical hometown. "The Scarlet Letter" is easily one of the best novels of the nineteenth century and arguably one of the best of all time. Without question, it is one of my favourite books.

forbesrachel Apr 12, 2015

An eloquently written classic about sin, love, and the strength of a single mother. Hawthorn primarily uses narration rather than dialogue, and because of this he describes exactly how a character looks, and what they are thinking and feeling at any given moment. When Hester first steps out of the prison, we see how incredibly strong she is. She refuses to name the father of her child, endures the judgment and hypocrisy of others, strives to redeem herself through charity, all the while caring for a handful of a child. Other characters induce equally strong, although different reactions in us. Do not judge the book by the Introductory chapter, the rest is very different, and because it only introduces the finding of this story, it can be skipped over. Among classics, this is a very quick and easy read, but for those that prefer modern English or the visual mediums, try the Manga Classics adaptation; it is extremely faithful, and because the narration translates so well into art, barely a thing is missed.

Apr 01, 2015

I shall borrow a phrase from a friend who described this book as “Just old-fashioned, stilted language”, which really describes what I though about this book quite well.

The Custom House story was so not needed and quite boring in its relationship to the actual story. I thought that it might have made a better full length story than the one it was prefacing. I liked the detail on the characters he worked with and the actual building description. I would have rather read about that than the creepy Arthur and Roger.

I would have liked to read this book from the point of view of only one of the characters. I'd kind of like to read it from Pearl's actually; she is one of the most interesting characters. Hester is too pious and guilt ridden for me, Arthur is a coward who prefers to berate himself in private and Roger is way too creepy.

To me Pearl is the one most affected. She is the product of an 'evil' deed and her view of the situation, how that affected her childhood and her views of her mother could have made a great story.

I did find it interesting that her wronged husband was painted as such an evil man, especially compared to her being portrayed as almost a saint and her lover as a man being wronged. For a book with such Puritan themes that does seem backwards.

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britprincess1ajax May 08, 2016

"As a first step, the whole system of society is to be torn down, and built up anew. Then, the very nature of the opposite sex, or its long hereditary habit, which has become like nature, is to be essentially modified, before woman can be allowed to assume what seems a fair and suitable position."

Nov 27, 2015

One man cannot wear one face to the public, and another to himself, without as to getting bewildered to which may be the true.

Nov 27, 2015

The scarlet letter was her key into places other women dare not tread.

platypus101 Jul 08, 2013

“She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.”

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platypus101 Jul 08, 2013

platypus101 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Sep 23, 2009

GCL thinks this title is suitable for 99 years and over


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