Oh no, I am criticising a classic! The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Well this was my first free book downloaded on the Kindle and it has taken me SIX weeks to finish it which is an appalling record.  Admittedly, I have been reading other things too but I really struggled to finish this.

The story is set in 17th century Puritan Boston and deals with the lives of the English immigrants there.  Hester Prynne has been found guilty of having a child out-of-wedlock and is then forced to wear a scarlet letter A (for adulteress) as a sign of her shame.  She also refuses to name the father of her child.  The story  deals with the theme of guilt, sin and repentance and the subsequent treatment by the town’s Puritans of Hester and her daughter Pearl. Hawthorne represents the adulteress Hester as a heroine and this is interesting considering it was written in the 19th century.

Unfortunately this book has the longest opening chapter ever which seems to add absolutely nothing to the plot. When Hester enters the story you become interested imagining this brave woman standing with her baby at the town’s pillory, but this largely fades again as there as so many convoluted descriptions.  I am sure I must be wrong on this, after all it is a classic but I just a bit bored, I am wondering does anyone love this?

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Oh no, I am criticising a classic! The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne

  1. Michèle Moolchan

    Well, that’s a relief! When I read this book years ago I felt exactly the way you do.

  2. Sophie

    ‘A’ is also for America which gives the whole book another layer of meaning – now whether that is intersting or not is a whole other matter!

  3. Yes that’s quite an interesting way of analysing it, I hadn’t thought of that but yes you have a point that still doesn’t necessarily make it interesting or readable.

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