Thomas's Reviews > The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
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's review
Sep 30, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: read-for-high-school, own-physical, five-stars, historical-fiction
Read from September 19 to 26, 2011

Nathaniel Hawthorne is the coolest name ever.

I can see why people dislike this book, though. Hawthorne doesn't hesitate to use a lot of words. He prefers to perforate his readers' craniums with an extensive utilization of verbose language, thus intimidating and irritating those whose literary palettes do not include grandiose diction.

Reading The Scarlet Letter relieved me. I'd take rambling paragraphs and stocky sentences over quadratic equations and piecewise functions any day. Besides, his writing is beautiful. A little grandiloquent, yes, but still absolutely brilliant.

Not to mention that it must've required courage to publish a book like this. It's openly feminist and psychological, two things that I'm sure were not comfortable dinner topics in the 1850's. Hawthorne skilfully delves into the themes of legalism and guilt, and the story is one to think about. Apparently he wrote the book (and changed his last name from Hathorne to Hawthorne) because his uncle was an executioner at the Salem witch trials - kind of sounds like something I would do...

*cross-posted from my blog, the quiet voice.
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Reading Progress

09/19/2011 "Despite its seemingly verbose writing style, I've been waiting to read this book for a long time. :)"
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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Michael Is it torture for you? :3

Thomas Not at all. I'm actually loving it. :)

Michael Thank God, someone else who loves this book.

Thomas I know, the average rating of this book on Goodreads is horrendous. Also, your use of gifs never ceases to amuse me.

Michael I really don't know why people don't appreciate it more.

In that case, have this lizard.

Thomas From what I've read and heard it's mostly due to Hawthorne's writing style. I can see where people are coming from - it is a little lengthy, but I don't mind. I shall save the rest of my thoughts for my review...

And, uh, thanks for that one too. -_-

Stephen It's actually really controversial considering the time period in which the novel takes place - the puritan period! That was when adultery was HEAVILY frowned upon, much more than it is now and especially having a child by another man was very VERY wrong.

Thomas Yes I know! How scandalous the affair is in Puritan society only aggrandizes the tension, making the book much more suspenseful. Hawthorne even points out in one part that if what had happened then happened today, nobody would really care (or the after effects would be much less severe).

Stephen Ok the material may have been salacious for its time but this guy was no Grace Metalious Peyton Place is actually somewhat readable. This guy's prose is the most convoluted and tedious that I can recall ever being exposed to.

Strangely he sort of summarized it himself when mentioning how Dimsdale had been put to sleep by reading a too-boring book "A Work of vast ability in the somniferous school of literature."

Stephen btw... Hawthorne was a creation. He was born under the name Hathorne

Thomas I agree that the prose is tedious, though I felt that other aspects of the book made up for that. And yeah I was aware of him changing his last name, I included that in my review.

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