Scarlet Letter: Review and Recommendation

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In this brief overview of the 1850s novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, I will go through a summary of the piece, go into the experience I had with the book and a critique over how well the book was in a sense of readability, let it be known to the readers of this paper that I, myself, do have an extensive reading history and will be approaching this as if you, the reader, have not experienced a lot of reading in your time or as if you had not decided to read a piece of literature in the form of novel. By the end of this paper I hope to have sold you, as I had been sold years ago, on reading this work from a time before our great grandparents and appreciate the impact that it had on the world of literature.

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Written more than a century ago, The Scarlet Letter is a novel that focuses on Hester Prynne and her plight with the being found out by her community in her being an adulteress and the wearing of the scarlet letter, which is a red fabric A that symbolizes adultery. The significance of her wearing the A on her chest is that she was the first woman in that town to not just be put to death for the act of adultery, the reason for her not being executed was that it had been presumed her husband had died and was no where to be found; therefore, she was considered to be widowed or abandoned by the court that was ruling over her. As she is being displayed upon the square for the town to witness her shame, her unknown husband is seen within the crowd folk. Three years pass after Roger Chillingworth, Hesters husband living incognito, has made his presence known to Hester and had her agree to keep his identity a secret while he went on a personal mission to figure out the identity of the man Hester had slept with, whom she is also hiding the identity of (Hawthorne, 2014). After the three years pass it is able to be deduced that Hester is dressing Pearl, her daughter resulting from the adultery, in red as to relate her to the A on her chest that way she can have a further reminder of her sins. Not only has life as an outcast not only been hard for her, but the townspeople are questioning her capability of raising her child correctly, that being a religion centered upbringing (Hawthorne, 2014).

Her motherly status with keeping Pearl had been saved by Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale since he stood up for her while being evaluated by the Governor. Before the book jumps ahead four more years, it is established that Dimmesdale, Hesters secret lover, has become Chillingworths patient because he has been displaying a sense of deep affliction. Once Pearl reaches the age of seven, the town has grown to accept Hester even more and there is even talk of removing her emblazoned letter upon her chest; however, Hester had grown so accustomed to the symbol that she had no desire to rid herself of the symbol and was fine with it remaining on her cloth. In this time things have gotten rough for Dimmesdale since Chillingworth has been torturing him due to high suspicions of Dimmesdale before Hesters hidden lover. One night, Chillingworth looks over a sleeping Dimmesdale and finds a blaring red A on his undershirt which was proof of his infidelity and served as a reminder to the reverend for all those years. Having flagellated himself, starved himself and even attempted a failed confession at night the reverend had talked with Hester after seven years of keeping their distance and they had decided to leave the town after his last sermon that he was to give before the elections (Hawthorne, 2014). During the sermon; however, Dimmesdale pulled Hester and Pearl onto the stage and confessed to his sins before succumbing to some sort of illness or poison presumed to have been administered by Chillingworth whom would also die shortly there after leaving Pearl a large inheritance (Hawthorne, 2014). With both men dying, both Hester and Pearl left the town only to return after a period of time where Hester would go on to continue wearing her symbol of adultery and after her passing she was buried beside Dimmesdale where they share a headstone with an A engraved on their slab (Hawthorne, 2014).

After reading this one-hundred-and-eighty-page republication of the 1850s novel for the third time in my lifetime, I can assuredly say that I would recommend anyone interested in a short yet descript read to give it a look. It is not long enough for the book to be considered a length read and is also, on the other hand, not too short as to just be a coffee table book. The summary I had provided only scratches the surface of the major details that Nathaniel Hawthorne had written so eloquently for his readers and I could not possibly do it justice with the few pages I am providing you today. I would consider this work along with hundreds of others to not be simply looked over and I would ask not to judge the piece primarily on the author having written in what his time was known for, old English, which can deter a reader in this day and age. If you were to look past and work with the complexities of his time then I have no doubt in my heart that you, the potential reader, would find yourself disappointed with having read through this novel that had withstood the test of time for well over a century of criticism and dissections. Rereading this book, for the third or fourth time now, I decided to read it as a bedside book, a few pages a night before nodding off and that, to me, was a great way of not only fitting time in to read it but also allowing me quiet time to soak up what was happening in the novel.

With the brief summary showing off the highlights of the aforementioned novel and my personal experience with the book having been displayed for your comprehension I am hoping sees to your personal ideals and influences your decision on whether or not to join the populous who has read The Scarlet Letter and find yourself enthralled with literature, along with history, as a whole. I will also make it clear that the entirety of the recommendation portion of this essay is solely based around personal experiences and feelings towards this work and others like it, hopefully knowing that does not detract from the impact on you and your decision.

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Scarlet Letter: Review and Recommendation. (2019, May 18). Retrieved December 4, 2022 , from

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