The Scarlet Letter

Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Oct 25, 2022

In the historical fiction novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne tells the legend of

the scarlet letter, a story of three Puritans' path toward penance for their sins. The story starts

with the main character, Hester Prynne, suffering a great ignominy before the entirety of Boston

after becoming pregnant with a child that was not her husband. Due to Hester moving to Boston

ahead of her husband, everyone thinks he is dead, so instead of being killed, she's forced to

wear a mark of her sin: a scarlet letter “A” that stands for adultery. However, it happens that her

husband arrives on the day of her public disgrace, and after forcing her to keep his status

secret, he swears revenge on the unknown man who sinned alongside Hester. Hawthorne

seeks to retell the developments and resolutions of Hester's struggle against public contempt,

the unknown adulterers' struggle against being themself, and the husband's struggle against his

budding evil.

This novel, The Scarlet Letter, is a true literary classic that brings the reader into the

minds of Puritan settlers and allows them to judge for themselves, the book's theme of morality.

If I were to critique anything, that would be Hawthorne's long-windedness; many paragraphs are

nearly a page long, and chapters are twice the length they could have been. This was not an

issue for me, as the depth in which Hawthorne describes the setting and character traits only

fueled my thoughts, and the plethora of figurative language and personification created a

pleasant immersive sensation. Overall, I would give this book a five out of five and highly

recommend it to anyone with a propensity for the overly descriptive and mind-numbingly long.


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