Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Review of 'The Scarlet Letter' by Nathaniel Hawthorne

’The Scarlet Letter’ is a dramatic allegory of the social consequences of adultery and the subversive force of personal desire in a community of laws. The transgression of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, the innate lawlessness of their illegitimate child, Pearl, and the torturous jealousy of the husband Roger Chillingworth eventually erupt through the stern reserve of Puritan Boston.

It feels like I’m coming full circle by posting this… after all, I did initially create this blog for my 10th grade English class (hence the stupid web address) and we just happened to be reading this book at the time. Mr. D, consider this a sort-of-assignment turned it…

I’ve read about Puritan society in history books, but this was the first time that I had read about this kind of society in a work of fiction. I didn’t realize just how strict this society was.

Everyone freaked out because Hester Prynne had a baby while she was still technically married (her husband was no where to be found. She had come to America before him) but it wasn’t her husband’s baby. In fact, no one in town knew who the father was and Hester Prynne refused to offer up that information. Because of this, Hester spent a little time in prison and was forced to wear a scarlet letter ‘A’ for adultery on her breast.

I liked that Hester was not the incriminating type; she received her punishment and followed through with it. She didn’t give the name of Pearl’s father.

Overall, a very powerful book. Once you get past some of the difficult language and metaphors, it’s pretty simple to understand. Most students who read this complain and moan about it till this day, but I actually liked it. I give this:

Thanks for reading!


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