27 December 2010

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

(Kindle Edition)

Novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, published in 1850. It is considered a masterpiece of American literature and a classic moral study. The novel is set in a village in Puritan New England. The main character is Hester Prynne, a young woman who has borne an illegitimate child. Hester believes herself a widow, but her husband, Roger Chillingworth, returns to New England very much alive and conceals his identity. He finds his wife forced to wear the scarlet letter A on her dress as punishment for her adultery. Chillingworth becomes obsessed with finding the identity of his wife's former lover. When he learns that the father of Hester's child is Arthur Dimmesdale, a saintly young minister who is the leader of those exhorting her to name the child's father, Chillingworth proceeds to torment the guilt-stricken young man. In the end Chillingworth is morally degraded by his monomaniacal pursuit of revenge; Dimmesdale is broken by his own sense of guilt, and he publicly confesses his adultery before dying in Hester's arms. Only Hester can face the future bravely, as she plans to take her daughter Pearl to Europe to begin a new life.

The Scarlet Letter is definitely "heavy" reading, but worth reading. Take some advice: skip the introductory chapter "The Custom House" and just begin reading with "The Prison Door." Although I enjoyed this book, the descriptions were incessantly vivid and at times confusing but, it does add to the portrayal of society in the mid 1800's. This book forced me to look up many words that were used in Nathaniel Hawthorne's time, but are not used today. Once I was able to follow what Hawthorne was saying, I quickly got into the book.

This is a story you will long remember.


2 comments:

  1. Scarlett Letter...what a classic. I luv the classics so much its hard to read any others. "What Katy Did" is an old 1800's book that is fun to read too. I found it at an old book store...never knew it was. Even on Facebook there is a fan page of it. Go Figure! To think, books were all people had to keep on the up and up, now the Kindles and IPads have taken over. For me, finding an old book is a prize and I have loads of them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Merry Christmas Jovi. I hope you get a lot of books from your list read. My hubby bought me a Nook for Christmas and I'm thrilled.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Your comment is awaiting moderation. Have a wonderful day - Jovita