Book Review: The Scarlet Letter

Now and then, I’ll decide to read a classic book to see the hoopla. That is how I ended up reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Hester Prynne has given birth to a baby girl and while it is a time to rejoice normally, that is not the case. In Boston, Massachusetts, giving birth to an illegitimate child is a sin. And nobody knows who is the father of the child.

As punishment, Hester has to wear The letter “A” in scarlet color on her for the rest of her life. She is labeled and treated as a outcast in society. That forces her to live in a cabin outside the village and raise her daughter by herself.

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We see how exiling Hester and her child impacts the lives of many people in town. Puritan values are questioned by us the reader and the punish Hester receives. Does the punishment fit the crime and the psychological effects that followed?

Published in 1850, The Scarlet Letter went on to sell a lot of copies. The novel was also one of the first to be mass produced and was well-received. probably because it checked off a lot things such as religion, sin, allusions to the Bible.

I was not a fan of the book or the writing. There is such a thing as being too technical and Hawthorne did exactly that. The novel is tedious and goes into too much detail about the scarlet letter on Hester’s chest. He over-explains it and tries to really make sure you understand what is going on because he thinks it will go over your head.

I am glad books are not written like this anymore because it takes the fun out of reading. Hawthorne is not the only one guilty of trying to explain things to a fault but he stands out to me. No other book has felt as tedious as this one. So I won’t be recommending this book but if you want to read a classic, give it a shot.

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