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Nathaniel Hawthorne's THE SCARLET LETTER reaches to our nation's historical and moral roots for the material of great tragedy Set in an early New England colony the novel shows the terrible impact a single passionate act has on the lives of three members of the community the defiant Hester Prynne; the fiery tortured Reverend Dimmesdale; and the obsessed vengeful ChillingworthWith THE SCARLET LETTER Hawthorne became the first American novelist to forge from our Puritan heritage a universal classic a masterful exploration of humanity's unending struggle with sin guilt and pride


10 thoughts on “The Scarlet Letter

  1. says:

    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 left foot just as he informeth the left hand and those bewitched left handed persons amongst us? Why forsooth doth the left foot of sin draggeth the innocent right foot along its wretched journey from one side of the room to the other? She walked across the room I tell you Guilty feet hath got no rhythm


  2. says:

    The story not bad The style unreadable Here is who I would recommend this book to people who like sentences with 4 or 5 thoughts and that are paragraph length so that they are nearly impossible to understand because by the time the end of the sentence has been reached the beginning and whatever meaning it contained has been forgotten and the point is lost


  3. says:

    I found my old high school review of this book Here's a little bit of my assessment Apologiese in advance If there is a hell Hawthorne is the devil's sidekick and the first thing you're given after the stark realization that you're in hell on fire and this is going to last forever is this book And you have to do a 10 page paper praising the wondrous virtues of this massive waste of time And after you've finished writing in your own blood mind you your stupid paper you are given another essay topic dealing with this same insipid book Congratulations this is what you'll be doing for eternityHaha I really DID NOT LIKE this book in HS and it's part of the reason why I have always been apprehensive about US literature especially the classicsNow I'm a TEACHER and I'm going to revisit this monolith of high school trauma and I'll go into it with as much of an open mind as possible I did the same thing with Old Man and the Sea I remember loathing that book when I read it my freshmen year and the second time around I LIKED ITI did not like either book because my teachers did not do a good job of selling it to me There was little to no background no setup no explanation as to why we should read this other than ED Hirsch said you have to so go read itTeaching 101 never have your students read a book that you yourself do not enjoy I think my teachers disliked both books and it rubbed off on their students


  4. says:

    The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel HawthorneThe 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 the story of Hester Prynne who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity Throughout the book Hawthorne explores themes of legalism sin and guiltعنوانها «داغ ننگ»؛ «حرفی به رنگ عشق»؛ «زنی با نشان قرمز»؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز ششم ماه آگوست سال 1976میلادیعنوان داغ ننگ؛ اثر ناثانیل هاثورن؛ مترجم سیمین دانشور؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، نیل، 1334، در 240ص، چاپ دوم فرانکلین 1346، در 224ص، سوم 1357؛ چاپ چهارم خوارزمی؛ 1369؛ در 252ص؛ چاپ پنجم 1385؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان آمریکایی سده 19ممترجم مرضیه مهردوست؛ تهران، پیام پویا؛ 1387؛ در 56ص؛ مترجم محمدصادق شریعتی؛ در 86 ص؛ تهران، گویش نو؛ 1387؛ با عنوان زنی با نشان قرمز؛ در 127ص؛ روشنگران؛چکیده داستان «هستر پرین شخصیت اصلی داستان» زن جوان و متاهلی است، که گفته می‌شود «همسرش سال­ها پیش به مسافرتی رفته، ولی هرگز برنگشته است، و همگان به یقین رسیده‌ اند، که وی مرده است»؛ داستان از جایی آغاز می‌شود، که «هستر» به علت ارتکاب زنا، با مهم‌ترین کشیش شهر «آرتور دیمزدیل»؛ صاحب بچه ­ای به نام «پرل»، شده، همان بچه، رسوایی و جرم و گناه بزرگ او را، آشکار ساخته، بنابراین «هستر» در زندان است؛ از او میخواهند که نام پدر بچه را افشا کند، تا او نیز محاکمه گردد؛ اما «هستر» بسیار وفادار و شجاع است، و از انجام آنکار، خودداری می­کند؛ حکم مجازاتش این است، که می­بایست همراه با فرزند حرامزاده ی خویش، در وسط شهر، و در پیشگاه عموم، بر روی سکوی اعدام بایستد، تا همگان او را ببینند، و نیز تا پایان عمر خویش، همواره باید، «داغ ننگ» یا «اسکارلت لتر» را بر روی سینه‌، و تن خویش داشته باشد، تا همیشه، به عنوان یک زناکار، میان مردم شناخته شود؛ او مجازات را با افتخار می­پذیرد، و در زیر بار رسوایی، و تحقیراتی که جامعه به او تحمیل می‌کند، شکست را نمی‌پذیرد، تا اینکه رفته رفته، با اعمال خیرخواهانه‌ اش، نگاه جامعه را به سوی خود تغییر داده، در انتهای داستان حرف «آ» بر روی سینه‌ اش، بجای نماینده ی واژه­ ی «آدالترس»، نمایانگر کلمه «آنجل» به معنی فرشته، تجلی میکندتاریخ بهنگام رسانی 23061399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا شربیانی


  5. says:

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


  6. says:

    oh god hawthorne is that perpetually needy manchild of a writer you know the one who peers over your shoulder while youre trying to read and keeps pointing out the parts of his own writing that he finds particularly good andor moving yeah see? do you see? see how i talked about how the rose is red and then i talk about how hesters 'a' is red too? do you see what im trying to do here with the symbolism?and its like that all the way through the book edit 12 september 2008 im tutoring with this for of my students as her AP english teacher is teaching it as part of his curriculum and yes it still sucks as badly as i remember actually even so because now i have to teach it


  7. says:

    Behold verily there is the women of the Scarlet Letter; and of a truth over 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 justly or unjustly then surely the girl will take some of this to heart? If the only world she has ever known is one when he only parent is considered ungodly blasphemous and full of sin then surely she will begin to reflect some of these ideals? When the Puritans branded Hester with the Scarlet Letter they also branded her daughter metaphorically speaking of courseThis novel is a political message directly pointed at the Puritans of early America In their blind devoutness they almost cause the very thing they are actually preaching against Ultimately Hawthorne portrays the religious sect as hypocrites who are completely self defeating in their actions What’s the point in preaching a religion if you don’t fully adhere to its doctrine? There’s none Actions have conseuences so does unjustified damnation Indeed in this the author establishes how some extreme piety can almost cause impiety Religion can be taken too far Christianity is built upon the principals of forgiveness and repentance not punishment and the shaming of the guilty Well what the Puritans perceive as guilty Then there is the entire separate issue of the fact that those men of the cloth can be guilty too Nobody is completely pure despite what they think Hester’s biggest sin is getting pregnant outside of marriage In their persecution of her they don’t consider how she could be the victim in all this I’m not saying that she is in this regard but to the best of their knowledge she could well be She could have been raped They’re also unforgivingly sexist; they again consider Hester to be the guilty party without recognising that it takes two to do the deed Their ignorance knows no bounds to the realities of life; they shield themselves with their religious virtue and do not consider that there is a harsh world out there Men like this are dangerous and in this Hawthorne establishes his message “I have laughed in bitterness and agony of heart at the contrast between what I seem and what I am” This is a very accomplished novel; it provides an interesting perspective on a crucial part of American history It was an enlightening read but toward the middle it’s focus did begin to dwindle I felt like there were a few passages of convoluted and unnecessary narration I mean this was short though it could have been a little shorter The middle was drawn out with some irrelevant events thrown in I’m not entirely sure of their point The language combination was also a little odd at times; it felt like the author had lifted certain expressions straight from Shakespeare’s vocabulary and infused it with his own The result was a very disjointed and hard to read combination The overall message of this piece of literature is what makes it a worthy read even if its delivery was a little pedantic at times Overall though I do attest that this is a rather undervalued novel The socio historical context it provides is tremendous This is a classic I’m very glad I read The overall message of this piece of literature is what makes it a worthy read even if its delivery was a little pedantic at times


  8. says:

    Maybe 25 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 the intriguing symbolism and the way he delves into the human heart So I'll compromise at 4 starsThe Custom House part which is just a framing device; seriously I'll skip it if I ever read this again tells of a man who finds the fateful scrap of red cloth a scarlet A beautifully embroidered with gold thread along with a 200 year old manuscript telling the story of Hester Prynne This man then retells her story In the mid 1600s Boston is a Puritan settlement so adultery was a huge scandal Hester Prynne is led out of jail in front of a crowd her baby daughter Pearl in her arms and with the scarlet A on her dress standing for Adultress She's put in a scaffold and publicly shamed Her elderly husband has been missing for years so it's clear he's not the father of Pearl But Hester resolutely refuses to name the actual father What she doesn't realize at first is that her long lost husband is in the crowd hiding his identity from everyone Going by the name of Roger Chillingworth shivers he settles in and patiently waits for his chance for revengeBoston officials try to take Pearl away from Hester but a young minister Arthur Dimmesdale pleads her case The popular Dimmesdale has his own problems a mysterious wasting disease and heart trouble Maybe just maybe his problems are mostly psychological? And then the secretly suspicious Chillingworth decides to befriend Dimmesdale The use of a scarlet letter on clothing to publicly brand adulterers is a historic fact but Hawthorne turns it into a potent symbol I loved this take on it from an excellent critical review and analysis in The AtlanticWe may realize its value in the present case by imagining the book with the scarlet letter omitted It is not practically essential to the plot But the scarlet letter uplifts the theme from the material to the spiritual level It is the concentration and type of the whole argument It transmutes the prose into poetry It serves as a formula for the conveyance of ideas otherwise too subtle for words as well as to enhance the gloomy picturesueness of the moral scenery It burns upon its wearer's breast it casts a lurid glow along her pathway it isolates her among mankind and is at the same time the mystic talisman to reveal to her the guilt hidden in other heartsThe entire story each character each event people's appearances even objects is filled with symbolism Light and darkness sin and secrecy suffering and redemption all have a role It can be a little or a lot hard to wade through the old fashioned language and viewpoint of The Scarlet Letter but it really rewards the reader who's willing to look deeper


  9. says:

    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 timeMost modern readers don't realize and certainly aren't taught in school that Hawthorne as his fiction essays and journals make clear was a strong Christian though he steadfastly refused to join a denomination; and here his central subject is the central subject of the Christian gospel sin's guilt and forgiveness Unlike many moderns Hawthorne doesn't regard Hester's adultery as perfectly okay and excusable though he also doesn't regard it as an unforgivable sin But his faith was of a firmly Arminian sort; and as he makes abundantly clear it's very hard for sinners mired in the opposite Calvinist tradition to lay hold of repentance and redemption when their religious beliefs tell them they may not be among the pre chosen elect It's no accident that his setting is 17th century New England the heartland of an unadulterated unuestioned Calvinism whose hold on people's minds was far iron clad than it had become in his day If you aren't put off by 19th century diction this book is a wonderful read with its marvelous symbolism and masterful evocation of the atmosphere of the setting the occasional hints of the possibly supernatural add flavor to the whole like salt in a stew Highly recommended


  10. says:

    It's great to finally get back to the classics It's been far too long since I read a book with careful intensity noting throwaway lines that are likely to show up on a multiple choice or short answer test that misses the main themes of a book entirely while managing to ask lots of uestions like In the fourth chapter what kind of shoes was character you don't even remember wearing?I was thinking maybe it would be nice to read a book like this without worrying about that stuff just absorbing it for what it was and then moving on through my life drunkWrong Wrong wrong wrongIt's hard to know where to start with this thingThe prose itself is almost unreadable Let me give you an example of what a sentence in this book is likeA man who was born in a small town which bore no resemblance to the town his parents imagined for him when they settled in the area over 40 years ago with every intention of starting a small business selling gift baskets online that sort of petered out after bigger companies like FTD caught onto the whole thing and ran the little guys out with predatory pricing decided to go for a walk one dayI shit you not Whenever I saw a dash I'd skip down to find the second dash and usually managed to cruise through half a page to find the relevant piece where the prose picked up againWord on the street is that Hawthorne who published the book in 1850 actually wrote it to seem EVEN MORE old timey than it was which is pretty goddamn old timey at this point As far as I can tell writing old timey means1 Describing furniture and clothing in such exhaustive detail that royal wedding coverage appears shabby and underdeveloped2 Using commas wherever the fuck you feel like it3 Structuring the plot in such a way that you already know everything that's going to happen way before it doesLet's talk plot while we're on the topicThe plot is like Dynasty with all the juicy parts pulled out I'm serious All events could be summed up by video of a guy sitting in front of a sign that says Banging people isn't so bad and winking from time to time One of the characters is damned and as she walks through the forest the bits of light that dot the trail through the canopy of trees literally vanish before she can walk into them Now this would be fine in a book where the damned character was in the woods say leading an army of orcs But in a book where the sexual and social s of Puritan society are called into uestion it kind of overdoes everything and kills the moodSo it all begs the uestion What the fuck is going on with these classics?The Scarlet Letter according to a recent study is the sixth most taught book in American high schools It's very popular and you can hardly enter a Barnes and Noble without seeing a new version with such awesome cover art that it almost tricks you into buying itI have a freuent argument with my brother regarding what makes things movies books whatever great To him for example a movie might be great because it's the first movie to usher in a new era in filmmaking really redefining an era while paying a loving homage to the past Context is important to him and reading the stuff on the IMDB page is part of the movie experience in his worldFor me I don't really give a shit about context Knowing that Hawthorne had certain feelings about Puritanism based on his ancestry doesn't really matter much to me Finding out that the main character was based loosely on the author's wife doesn't really do a whole lot for me In other words I demand to be entertained on at least some level and if the level of entertainment doesn't spur me on to dig deeper I think that's a failure of the art and not an example of my own laziness contributing to my dislike of the art in uestionFurther when the prose is TOO challenging I am constantly thinking This is a book I am reading and here is the next line of this book I am not at all swept up in the narrative and therefore don't enjoy it nearly as muchI like to think of books as being like magicians Take a David Copperfieldthe magician not the book His schtick is to do amazing tricks that appear effortless on his part which is why they are well magical David Blaine on the other hand performs feats that do not appear effortless whatsoever and therefore far less magical It takes a great writer to write a great book It takes an even better writer to write a great book that appears nearly effortlessOne might accuse me of rarely reading challenging books and maybe it's true I find myself drawn to books that compel me to finish them as opposed to those that I feel I have to slog through while other books are sitting in growing piles around my apartment calling out to me with their promises of genuine laughs heartbreak that is relevant to me and prose that doesn't challenge me to the point that it's of a barrier to the story than anythingPerhaps most telling at the book club meeting we were discussing this last night and an older lady asked a pretty decent uestion Why is this considered a classic?There are two answers one that is what the Everyman Library will tell you and one that I would tell youEveryman would say that the book is a classic because it is an excellent snapshot of a historical period It has a narrative set within a framework that allows us to better understand our roots as Americans The issues of people's perceptions of women and rights of women are still very alive today Overall it gives us a chance to examine our own society through the lens of fiction therefore re framing the conversation to make it less personal and easier to examine without bias Blah blah blahI would say it's a classic because it was one of the palatable books that came out during the period when classics were made I would also point out that the canonized classics are never revised We never go back and say which books maybe have less to say about our lives than they used to or which might still be relevant but have been usurped by something that is closer to the lives we live today I would also say that it continues to be taught in schools because the kind of people who end up teaching high school English are most often people who have a deep and abiding respect for these types of books and identified with these types of books at around that time in their lives I think there are a lot of people out there who never liked these books and rather than making their voices heard about what they think people should read they just drop out of the world of books altogetherMy point is I think this is a bad book It's got low readability even for adults The plot is melodramatic The characters are single dimensional crap the women being constant victims of the time and the men being weak examples of humanity Also a very serious story is halted in places where we are expected to believe that magic letter A's pop up in the sky like you might see in an episode of Sesame StreetIt must have been a very exciting book in its time without a doubt based on its sales And if this kind of book is your thing good for you I don't begrudge you your joy It's just not a book that I would ever dream of foisting on someone else nor would I recommend reading it unless you are absolutely reuired