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The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Book Overview: 

The Scarlet Letter is a romantic work of fiction in a historical setting, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is considered to be his magnum opus. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an adulterous affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments, and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods and others bareheaded, was assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes.

The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison. In accordance with this rule, it may safely be assumed that the forefathers of Boston had built the first prison-house somewhere in the vicinity of Cornhill, almost as seasonably as they marked out the first burial-ground, on Isaac Johnson's lot, and round about his grave, which subsequently became the nucleus of all the congregated sepulchres in the old churchyard of King's Chapel. Certain it is, that, some fifteen o. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Maybe 2.5 stars if I were just rating this on how much I actually enjoyed reading it. The 40 page Custom-House introduction was pure pain to plow through, no lie, and there are a lot of slow spots where Hawthorne gets hung up in the details.

But. 5 stars for the richness of Hawthorne's language,...more

The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter: A Romance, an 1850 novel, is a work of historical fiction, written by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is considered his "masterwork". Set in 17th-century Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony, during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells th...more

Hester walked across the room. She stepped upon her left foot, her right foot, and then her left foot again. One wonders, why doth she, in this instance of walking across the room, begin her journey upon the left foot and not the right? Could it be her terrible sin, that the devil informeth the l...more

So I finally got to find out for myself what the majority of American high-schoolers are subjected to, and while I see the importance of a story like this and the ideas it presents in 1850, I think the subject matter is both outdated and irrelevant today. One might, of course, choose to point out...more

Book Review
4 of 5 stars to The Scarlet Letter, a classic romantic period tale written in 1850, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Students are often required to read excerpts from this book, if not the whole book, during school. I was one of those students, but then I read it again in college as part of...more

Actually, I've read this book twice, the first time when I was in high school. Reading it again after some thirty years, I was amazed at the amount of meaning I'd missed the first time!

Most modern readers don't realize (and certainly aren't taught in school) that Hawthorne --as his fiction, essay...more

Modern society and a number of people seem somewhat confused about our ancestors. On one hand, they're dumbass peasants who attached BYOW (Bring Your Own Witch) to their barbeque invitations. On the other hand, they sometimes imbue them with super mystical intelligence, class and abilities whilst...more

"Behold, verily, there is the women of the Scarlet Letter; and, of a truth, moreover, there is the likeness of the scarlet letter running alongside her”

Let’s talk a little bit about self-fulfilling prophecy. If an entire community, and religious sect, brand a girl’s mother as a sinner, whether...more

This was my third time reading The Scarlet Letter. The first time was during my junior year of high school. I actually enjoyed it, though literature of the nineteenth century was such a mystery to me then that I shied away from the creaky long words and felt proud of myself for succeeding in mere...more

THIS BOOK IS ABOUT A PREECHERS SPERM IT HAS UPTIGHT PEOPLE IN IT

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