The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter Summary

An Apple Books Classic edition.

Hester Prynne lives in infamy. After committing adultery and bearing a child with a man whose name she refuses to divulge, the heroine of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel is forced to wear a scarlet A to mark her shame for all to see.

Hawthorne’s American classic reflects the Puritan mindset of Boston in the 1600s, where public humiliation was acceptable punishment for a woman who bucked the norms. Never mind that Hester’s husband was widely believed to have died at sea and that Hester and her daughter are living a quiet life of good deeds in their little cottage outside town. Someone wants revenge-and will stop at nothing to get it.

The Scarlet Letter incorporates supernatural elements with historical fiction. It’s a dark tale of sin and redemption with an unforgettable heroine whose story continues to fascinate readers and inspire film adaptations.



Book Reviews

Globalstandard Space

It’s SO HARD to me.3 star

I don’t need say “said he”. But, now okay.35

geekusprimus

One of the best pieces of classic American literature.5 star

The Scarlet Letter is one of my favorite pieces of classic literature. Hawthorne is not the easiest read, but the book is beautifully written. I read it the first time some years ago as a junior in high school as part of the required reading for my English class, but I fully enjoyed the book and quickly understood why it’s considered a seminal work in American literature. Some of the other reviewers seem to be disappointed by the novel, so perhaps it’s worthwhile to explain what it is not: this is not an action-packed thriller, nor is it a cheesy romance novel for middle-aged women on their second divorce. In fact, nothing about this novel could be considered “light reading.” At the same time, however, this book is not, as some reviewers have suggested, merely a criticism of Puritans, who were many generations removed from its writing. Rather, it’s a very moving tale about hypocrisy, redemption, forgiveness, and honesty; a story of a young woman who thrives in spite of a punishment not commensurate with her crime and a priest who languishes in private as he reflects on his own hidden sins. So, take a few evenings to read this book. Its message is as relevant today in 2020 as it was in 1850.55

Marilis Martinez

Bland3 star

Overall the message of the story was good, but I feel the author talked way to much about other topics35

bread bowl boi

Intriguing yet...3 star

Ok, the plot was interesting- and the farther away I get from when I read the book the more interesting the concept becomes but honestly it might have been the worst book I’ve ever read- then again I’ve been fairly picky about my reads up until this book and I read it only because I skipped a grade in LA and felt I was missing an important aspect of Highschool literature, but something about it felt very off.. like it wasn’t bad per say, but for some reason it just didn’t stick in my mind as interesting when I was reading it, I felt reluctant to turn the page and continue on with my venture into Hawthornes creation- Guys if you want literature on something very similar to Puritan control oppressing women I think Atwood’s the handmaids tale is far better written, although I just like things written by Atwood so I may be biased. Although then again this is free, so go for it, live your dream of saying “haha pleb, I’ve read the scarlet letter, haven’t you?!?..; why, it’s absolutely exquisite” twists fancy mustache, leans on cane. Lol, I’m just joking, though I would say that the concept is worth the read so do go for it, because this is similar to what women had to deal with back then and history is very important to understand the present and what it will lead to, so fly my birdies, spread your wings and fly35

Reverend76

A Moving and Relatable Story5 star

I was supposed to read this book in high school but didn’t pay much attention and couldn’t understand its moral relevance at the time. Almost thirty years later I took it up again and I understand it better. If I’d been able to internalize these lessons back in school, I might be in a better place. Certainly well written and engaging. Vivid depictions of Main characters’ lives and settings help transport me to their place. I rooted for some or hoped for the defeat of others throughout. There were even times I held my breath in anticipation of a tragic event. Between reading sessions, I wondered what I would do in their situations and in what ways I have lived or perhaps am living their stories today. Highly recommend this book.55

Apple Dev. Reviewer

Hawthorne is a literary genius5 star

Nathaniel Hawthorne uses foreshadowing, symbolism, and his vast vocabulary to portray his novel. His ability to create an atmosphere for the reader is unmatched. The story is very emotion-based; Hawthorne allows the reader to share the guilt and remorse with the many characters. It is a classic and will continue to live on through the years.55

undercoverfujoshi

Give it a chance5 star

Even though there are so many negative reviews this is one of my favorite classics55

Guacamole929

I just can’t1 star

I’m not sure if this is just my attention span, but I just kind of opened the book and just couldn’t. If you’re me, I would recommend Sherlock Holmes (It’s also free).15

SmiyaCat

2 out of 5 stars.2 star

I read this book a few months ago. It was hard to understand and read. It was wordy, long, and complicated. I wouldn’t recommend this book. The story overall is good but the words and the long sentences often made it seem off topic. I tried reading it and by far it’s one of the first books I had trouble reading. I basically forced myself to read it and it wasn’t fun. 2/5 stars before it had a great storyline just the way it was written was very complicated.25

knaD lad

An enormous disappointment2 star

The only things that seem to have kept this book from entirely fading into obscurity are Hawthorne’s commentaries on the roles of women and religious fundamentalism. I am usually enraptured by the heavily descriptive prose of romantic era literature, but this novel seems to think that its readers have a collective IQ of 10; needlessly pounding the same symbols and analogies into their skulls. It brushes over any content with the slightest potential to be entertaining (Hester’s experiences in helping the less fortunate and living in relative solitude are only described; we don’t get any specific examples of them) in favor of droning on and on about concepts that it has already presented, such as the dynamic between Chillingworth and Dimmesdale. I wish I could give this book a star and a half. It does not deserve two.25



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