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The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
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The Scarlet Letter

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

140 ratings, 20 reviews

The Scarlet Letter (1850) is Nathaniel Hawthorne's romantic novel set in 17th-century Puritan Boston. It is the story of Hester Prynne, an adulteress who struggles to create a new life of dignity and repentance. She is forced to wear a red "A" on her chest as a sign of her sinful act. The Scarlet Letter is considered one of the fundamental - if not the greatest - works of American literature, and American highschool students have been forever forced to read it. For all of its distinction however, the Scarlet Letter is a novel - as far as action goes - in which next to nothing happens. The narrative involves Pryne's attempt to resolve the torment caused by her affair with the minister Arthur Dimmesdale, in the years following the episode, but the affair itself is not in the novel, and is only alluded to.

Though some might complain that Hawthorne's book is slow, full of overly ornate language, and "full of holes," the author does magnificently and masterfully employ just about every known literary technique to tell a simple, yet emotionally dramatic tale. The first chapter is not not strictly attached to the rest of the novel, thus is the most difficult to read. But followed closely, it contains subtle foreshadowing of the nature of the society in which the story is about to take place: Hawthorne forewarns us of how the rituals of society will plague the lives of the minister, Hester Prynne, and her daughter. In doing so Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter captures the most taboo elements in the society in the simple tale of woman trying to escape her past.

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Madeline Wilks

March 19, 2014

This is my all time favorite and one of the greatest of the classics in my oppinion.


Winny Rojas

October 18, 2013

This is a great book, it leaves you wondering why is it not okay to love publicly, yet it is okay to hate publicly?


Andreis Taylor

October 08, 2013

I hate this


Elizabeth Echavarria

September 30, 2013

I read this book over ten years ago and really enjoyed it. I hope re-reading it will be just as enjoyable.


Brianna Payne

June 17, 2013

Love this book. It was very interesting to see the views people had in the 17th century for


Nadi M

March 21, 2013

Very hard to get into and did not keep my attention, Unfortunatly not one of my favourites


Nathalie Motealleh

October 31, 2012

Although this book is limited in action, it is rich in emotion and the imperfections of human nature; a great read.


Julie Jackson

October 08, 2012

Do not like it all


Mary Delie

August 26, 2012

One of American Literature's finest. A must read for lovers of symbolism and irony.


Alasia MAtthews

August 11, 2012

Its hard to understand the book because its Old English. But, since i have to read the book for school under limited time...i found that its best to read the summary analysis of each chapter n sparknotes then read the actual chapter of the book so you arent cluless as you read. It is a great book though it teaches american histoy! You should read it.


Sam Primera

May 28, 2012

Actually I thought it was an easily read,enjoyable book.Hester Pryne,who is single,is found to be carrying on an ongoing affair with a married clergyman,I believe.She is forced to sew a scarlet A on all her clothes so everyone will know HER sin.Incredibly she ends up living a happy life.Sure wasn't expecting that.Only complaint is he was doing the crime but she was made to pay.Totally sexist.But then,those were the times.Other than that great read.A favorite classic.Check it out of your library.Give it a shot.


Kayla Botterbrodt

April 18, 2012

This book looks like a good one to start reading...right now!!!!!!!!!!


Ching Tam

April 17, 2012

This book is a little bit hard to understand since its old English, but the content of this book is actually good. It might takes you some time to understand it.


Saumu Ernest

April 01, 2012

I like the book !!


Kathy Smith

March 30, 2012

Love the use of symbolism in this book! Especially note the use of light/blessing vs. darkness. A classic read.


Melissa Dant

March 20, 2012

I love this book


Raven Colon

December 04, 2011

I really don't understand it ;(


Lynn Kruse

November 26, 2011

Although a classic and perhaps consistent with the times, I found it to be ponderous,doling out pertinent bits of information while bombarding the reader with heavy-handed repetition of the idea of guilt. An excellent book to discuss and dissect, but somewhat sluggish to read. Rating reflects respect for Hawthorn rather than enjoyment of the book.


Jenny Jeon

October 13, 2011

Reading it for our english class..... A lil bit too hard for me even tho it's my second time. Too many plots but otherwise, a good book


Sarah Osei-Bonsu

September 12, 2011

Excellent, well written story. If you seen the films, know that they barely scratch the surface of what's written.