The Scarlet Letter is, a historical, romance novel with a bitter twist. Written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the book tells the tale of adulterer; Hester Prynne who is made to wear a red ‘A’ as punishment for her sin, this symbolism is a large aspect throughout the novel. The beginning uses speech to tell parts of the story. The rest however is told through third person narrative, in a way that makes the reader feel like the narrator/ author is talking directly to them.
Written by Hawthorne in 1850, the story is set in 17th Century, Puritan Massachusetts, therefore it describes a very different setting to modern day lives and values. The main themes of the novel include; adultery, sin, religion, love, hate, guilt and ostracism. These themes make this book a very interesting read. Although the themes and main plot ideas are somewhat distant from modern norms and values, some ideas are still relevant. In particular the concept of ostracism and social exclusion. Hester Prynne and her daughter Pearl are excluded due to a failure to abide to societies values, this social exclusion of those who are ‘different’ can still be seen sometimes in our society.
Its complex vocabulary makes Hawthorne’s work a difficult read in places, it is a great read however if you are looking to improve your own vocabulary.
A unique way to display love and sin, Hawthorne’s novel is still a great read today.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆