Austin's Reviews > The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
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U 50x66
's review
Nov 15, 2011

really liked it

The Scarlet Letter is a classic novel, and includes a variety of well-executed writing techniques that have earned it such high regard in the literary world. The novel tells the story of Hester Prynne, a woman who has an affair and a child out of wedlock, leading to her being completely ostracized by the townspeople as an adulterer. While she struggles with the shame and trials of being an outcast, her lover is weighed down by guilt and her husband is progressively consumed by the desire for revenge. The narrator of the story possesses an omniscient status, a facet that truly enhances the impact of the story. Each character carries dark secrets and powerful emotions with them throughout the piece, and excluding any of this information through a more limited point-of-view would yield a drastically different effect. The narrator’s ability to analyze each character and draw insights above the scope of the characters themselves lends to the complex nature of the story. Personally, I struggle with this powerful tool in my writing, and always settle for a limited third-person narration style. Being able to incorporate an “all-knowing” voice in my work would certainly lead to interesting new writing, and the Scarlet Letter is one piece I definitely intend to use as a point of reference when honing this skill.

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