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The Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
It is 1642 in the Puritan town of Boston. Hester Prynne has been found guilty of adultery and has born an illegitimate child. In lieu of being put to death, she is condemned to wear the scarlet letter A on her dress as a reminder of her shameful act. — Hester's husband had been lost at sea years earlier and was presumed dead, but now reappears in...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780451525222
ISBN-10: 0451525221
Publication Date: 8/1/1959
Pages: 256
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.

3.4 stars, based on 159 ratings
Publisher: Signet Classics
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
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reviewed The Scarlet Letter on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I never read this book in high school and frankly, I'm glad I didn't. I don't believe an un-married modern teenager could fathom what the characters in this book are experiencing. I had expected to slog through and did not expect to enjoy it, reading it only because my book club chose it. How wrong I was!

The antiquated prose style takes getting used to, but once acclimated to the cadence, one can really enjoy the juicy morsels Hawthorne dishes up. This book is not for the faint of heart! High melodrama with good guys and bad guys and the ever self-posessed Hester Prynne. Deep themes of good and evil and the nature of man. And the writing! People just don't write like this any more...people don't even think like this any more and for that I love this book.

There are passages in this book that are as vivid as if I'd seen them in a painting. There were moments when I wanted to SCREAM at Hester Prynne, so vivid and palpable was her denial of her own rights.

If you are ready to be brought back to another time and this book
reviewed The Scarlet Letter on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Sometimes it's tough to slog through the writing of Hawthorne. Not to mention the speech of the Pilgrims. But it's worth it.

I recently re-read this (after 40 years) and oddly enough, the book has drastically improved. As a teenager, in English class, we were scandalized by Hester's um, well, you know. But I now see a richer, more textured story fraught with many tragedies.

Hester Prynne, a single woman in a pilgrim colony, becomes pregnant. She is ostracized, forced to live apart, and is obstinant in her refusal to name the father. She must wear a big, bright red "A" whenever in public (and is ordered to sew these herself). Known to the reader, the father is the preacher.

This is also a love story. Their love, deep and abiding, is filled with gentleness as they secretly meet in the forest. The preacher, a good man, insists on admitting the truth; Hester won't let him. Her daughter is born and life goes on.

Meantime, Hawthorne subtlely points the reader in the direction of the village hypocrites, the liars, the politics, the gossip-mongoring, and the money-grubbers.

There is much more to this novel than a simple scandal. It is a classic because it resonates with its all-too-human readers. Buy it. Read it. Keep it.
reviewed The Scarlet Letter on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Set in an early New England colony, a married woman has an affair with a prominent figure, she gets impregnated. The whole town finds out about this, but she will not tell who the father of her baby is and as a punishment she is condemned to wear a letter A for adultery. This is a story about the woman, her lover and the struggles that she and her lover go through
reviewed The Scarlet Letter on + 52 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I read this book when I was in middle school, and now, twenty years later, it holds even more power. It's a delightful story that says a great deal about the fact that what you see is not always what you get...that there is always more to the story than what meets the eye. I loved this book twenty years ago, and I'm sure that in another twenty years, it will still hold the same delight and insight.
reviewed The Scarlet Letter on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
this book was very hard for me to read. The text felt like a different language, I loved the story and the characters where so real. but if you're going to read this be warned it took me an hour to get through ten pages. Its a slow read and at times i want to put it down but it was so worth reading.
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reviewed The Scarlet Letter on + 7 more book reviews
Well written account of life at the time, although occasionally long-winded. Good character development.
reviewed The Scarlet Letter on + 4 more book reviews
I read this in high school. It is a great character and color meaning study.

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