The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel HawthorneDelve into The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthornes meditation on human alienation and its effect on the soul in this story set in seventeenth-century Massachusetts and be dazzled by literature.
In Nathaniel Hawthornes dark novel, The Scarlet Letter, a single sinful act ruins the lives of three people. None more so than Hester Prynne, a young, beautiful, and dignified woman, who conceived a child out of wedlock and receives the public punishment of having to always wear a scarlet A on her clothing.
She refuses to reveal the father of her child, which could lighten her sentence. Her husband, the aptly-named Roger Chillingworth, who Hester thought had died in a shipwreck but was actually being held captive by Native Americans, arrives at the exact moment of her deepest public shaming and vows to get revenge. Her lover, Arthur Dimmesdale, remains safely unidentified, but is wracked with guilt.
Though originally published in 1850, the story is set in seventeenth-century Massachusetts among Hawthornes Puritan ancestors. In The Scarlet Letter, he created a story that highlighted both their weaknesses and their strengths. His knowledge of their beliefs and his admiration for their way of life was balanced by his concerns about their rigid and oppressive rules.
Complete and unabridged, this elegantly designed, clothbound edition features an elastic closure and a new introduction by Mike Lee Davis.
'The Scarlet Letter' by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Reviewed
The Scarlet Letter , novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne , published in It is considered a masterpiece of American literature and a classic moral study. The novel is set in a village in Puritan New England. The main character is Hester Prynne , a young woman who has borne a child out of wedlock. Hester believes herself a widow, but her husband, Roger Chillingworth, arrives in New England very much alive and conceals his identity.
From the SparkNotes Blog
It tells the story of Hester Prynne , a seamstress newly arrived in the New World from England, whose husband, Roger Chillingworth, is presumed dead. She and local pastor Arthur Dimmesdale have a romantic interlude, and Hester gives birth to their daughter, Pearl. Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter more than a century after the events in the novel would have occurred, but it is not difficult to discern his contempt for Boston's Puritans and their rigid religious views. Thinking through some key passages and the questions below will help deepen your understanding of the book. Whether you're studying for an exam or leading a book club, these discussion questions will strengthen your understanding of the novel.
Between Hawthorne's earlier and his later productions there is no solution of literary continuity, but only increased growth and grasp. Rappaccini's Daughter, Young Goodman Brown, Peter Goldthwaite's Treasure, and The Artist of the Beautiful, on the one side, are the promise which is fulfilled in The Scarlet Letter and the House of The Seven Gables, on the other; though we should hardly have understood the promise had not the fulfillment explained it. The shorter pieces have a lyrical quality, but the longer romances express more than a mere combination of lyrics; they have a rich, multifarious life of their own. The material is so wrought as to become incidental to something loftier and greater, for which our previous analysis of the contents of the egg had not prepared us. The Scarlet Letter was the first, and the tendency of criticism is to pronounce it the most impressive, also, of these ampler productions. It combines the strength and substance of an oak with the subtle organization of a rose, and is great, not of malice aforethought, but inevitably. It goes to the root of the matter, and reaches some unconventional conclusions, which, however, would scarce be apprehended by one reader in twenty.