The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet LetterRecollections of this well-known tale took me back to my junior high school days where I was fortunate to have a most excellent teacher whose inspiration remains with me today.

So a married gal in 1600’s Puritan Boston has a dalliance with an unnamed man and becomes pregnant.  She is imprisoned and emerges with her child with the scarlet letter “A” emblazoned upon her breast to face the townspeople.  She refuses to name her suitor and goes off to live in an abandoned cottage on the outskirts of town.

Hester Prynne, she who wears the scarlet letter, leads a selfless life, wearing drab gray dresses and covering her long hair beneath a cap.  She earns her way as a seamstress in order to provide for her daughter.  She has little communication with anyone aside from her sewing work and remains humble, living  reclusively.  I’d like to shake Hester by the shoulders and tell her she’s paid for her “crime” and then some.

The evil Roger Chillingworth seeks vengeance for being wronged, but does so under cover.  His name is not truly his own and he takes on the role of physician caring for a weak and sickly local reverend.  His true identity is known by only one and revealing it would be disastrous so the secret remains.  This guy gave me the willies.

Hester’s daughter, Pearl has great spirit and unlike her mother, boldly faces the stares and questions of the townsfolk with forthrightness.  Her uninhibited behavior unnerves her mother, yet does not deter her from her impulsiveness.  I wanted to run barefoot through the forest with this little imp.

I think perhaps a stroll deep in the woods would feel most apt with Mr. Hawthorne.  After some time in the outdoors, we could move indoors and I’d make every great effort to uncover this reclusive man’s writing methods.

My rating for The Scarlet Letter is a 7 out of 10.

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Next up, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein…Frankenstein


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