I first read The Scarlet Letter back in high school. It and "Young Goodman Brown" are the two pieces most often used to teach Nathaniel Hawthorne but I first read The Scarlet Letter back in high school. It and "Young Goodman Brown" are the two pieces most often used to teach Nathaniel Hawthorne but they are the most different from his other works. The different ones, or maybe better put, the ones that stand out, seem to be the ones taught. The standouts are often the experiments and therefore the more challenging to read.
By the time I read The Scarlet Letter I was already a Hawthorne fan so I went into the novel determined to like it. Were it the first of his books I had read, I might not have gone back for more. I don't want to scare you off the novel if you haven't read it. Rather, I want to encourage you to use it as a starting point for his other novels.
Much of the analysis of the novel focuses on Hester Prynne and her crime (adultery) and her life of redemption and the punishment both of jail time and of wearing the scarlet letter as a reminder of her crime. I personally find her daughter, Pearl Prynne the most compelling character of the novel. Pearl is born a marked child, a living remember of Hester's crime and the minister's sin. She spends her infancy in jail and her childhood alone except for the company of her mother. She can overhear the other villagers debating whether or not she is a demon child and whether or not she should be removed from her mother's care. She's ultimately not removed from her mother's care because none of the other families wants to risk having her in their homes.
As Hawthorne ends the novel not with a note on Hester's fate but on Pearl's instead clearly the book is more about Pearl, the innocent victim of Puritan society's meddling in private matters. ...more
The Halloween Tree is my favorite Ray Bradbury book; Something Wicked This Way Comes comes in at a close second. It is another of a short list of bookThe Halloween Tree is my favorite Ray Bradbury book; Something Wicked This Way Comes comes in at a close second. It is another of a short list of books I've read more times than I can count. With Halloween coming up, I enjoyed a nice afternoon of rereading it.
Ray Bradbury's tale is the Halloween equivalent to Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Bradbury cements this comparison by giving Moundshroud's house a "Marley knocker." While the three Christmas spirits are there to redeem Scrooge so that he can save Tim Cratchet, here a group of friends must face their fears to save the life of their friend Pipkin.
In only 150 pages (with illustrations), Bradbury takes the boys through a brief history of Halloween and all the traditions that have come to make the holiday as it is celebrated in the United States. The boys travel around the world and through time over the course of six hours.
If you haven't read this departure from Bradbury's usual style of story telling, read it. ...more
It's a cheesy sequel. I know. But I love it. It's the sort of paranormal goofiness that's so popular now except that it predates the current fad and iIt's a cheesy sequel. I know. But I love it. It's the sort of paranormal goofiness that's so popular now except that it predates the current fad and it lacks the romance of the newer ones....more