The Scarlet Letter (1850) is a novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is considered his magnum opus. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who gives birth after committing adultery and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.
The novel takes place in 17th-century Boston, Massachusetts during the summer, in a then Puritan village. A young woman, Hester Prynne, is led from the town prison with her infant daughter in her arms and on the breast of her gown "a rag of scarlet cloth" that "assumed the shape of a letter. It was the capital letter A". The scarlet letter "A" represents the act of adultery that she has committed and it is to be a symbol of her sin – a badge of shame – for all to see. A man in the crowd tells an elderly onlooker that Hester is being punished for adultery. Hester's husband, who is much older than she is, sent her ahead to America while he settled some affairs in Europe. However, her husband never arrived in Boston. The consensus is that he has been lost at sea. While waiting for her husband, Hester has apparently had an affair, as she has given birth to a child. She will not reveal her lover’s identity, however, and the scarlet letter, along with her public shaming, is her punishment for her sin and her secrecy. On this day Hester is led to the town scaffold and harangued by the town fathers, but she again refuses to identify her child’s father.
The Scarlet Letter| Posted May 12, 2009
This book was really an interesting read. I read it after reading another book about the same time period and how sinners were treated. I thought how strange it was how sinners were outcasts and shown no love when they needed to be shown God's love. I totally recommend this book, all the old english and all.
The Scarlet Letter| Posted March 11, 2009
This is one of the most captivating books I have read. I LOVE this book! Nathaniel Hawthorne must have been some kind of genius! This book is full of so many different kinds of literature,there's something in it for everyone....It's definitely worth reading!