Monday, November 7, 2011

The Scarlet Letter

By Nathaniel Hawthorne
★★★☆☆

Three Things I Liked About The Scarlet Letter:
1. Characterization
2. Imagery
3. Literary analysis & discussion

Like most people, the first time I read The Scarlet Letter was in high school. Unlike most people, I didn’t hate it. I didn’t like it, but I didn’t hate it. Recently, I re-read it for my American Literature class. I still wouldn’t say I enjoyed it, but I did find more to like. Or perhaps a better word is respect. I can't go as far as to say that reading The Scarlet Letter is an enjoyable experience, but I do enjoy dissecting and discussing its imagery and characterization.

I think just about everyone knows the basic plot-line of The Scarlet Letter, whether they’ve read it or not: Hester Prynne and her daughter Pearl, born out of wedlock, is ostracized by her strict Massachusetts Puritan community and branded with the scarlet ‘A.’ Meanwhile, Hester’s long-absent husband is inopportunely returned just in time to witness her public shame and embark on a vendetta to revenge himself on her concealed partner in adultery.

This isn’t one of those classics that’s secretly a really good read. It’s low on action and rife with long, over-complicated sentences and antiquated formal language. At the end of the day, I would still only recommend it for people who have a critical literary interest in reading it, not the casual reader looking to deepen their acquaintance with the classics.

Conversation Starter: When did you first read The Scarlet Letter? What did you think? Hate? Tolerate?

Books Read This Year: 83
Top 100 Progress: 46/100

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