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 - Thug Notes Summary and Analysis
The Scarlet Letter
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.
The Scarlet Letter opens with a long preamble about how the book came to be written. The nameless narrator was the surveyor of the customhouse in Salem, Massachusetts. When the narrator lost his customs post, he decided to write a fictional account of the events recorded in the manuscript. The Scarlet Letter is the final product. The story begins in seventeenth-century Boston, then a Puritan settlement. A man in the crowd tells an elderly onlooker that Hester is being punished for adultery. The consensus is that he has been lost at sea.
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.
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Video SparkNotes: Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter summary
Her lover, Arthur Dimmesdale , remains unidentified and is wracked with guilt, while her husband, Roger Chillingworth , seeks revenge. The Scarlet Letter's symbolism helps create a powerful drama in Puritan Boston : a kiss, evil, sin, nature, the scarlet letter, and the punishing scaffold. Nathaniel Hawthorne's masterpiece is a classic example of the human conflict between emotion and intellect. Written by: Nathaniel Hawthorne. Genres: gothic romance; psychological romance named by Hawthorne ; Gothic literature; allegory.
Themes in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne include criticism of Puritan beliefs regarding sin, individual and society, social norms and sense of guilt. Some of these major themes have been discussed below. Sin and the sense of sin is one of the major themes that appear from the very first chapter from the discovery of the story and the scarlet letter. However, not only does sin mean an act against the accepted religious norms, but also a rebellion against social traditions. The passionate act of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale which is considered as adultery, and when caught Hester is sentenced. However, Dimmesdale remains free due to his position, status, and influence.