Sean Barrs the Bookdragon's Reviews > The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
27788046
's review

really liked it
bookshelves: classics, 4-star-reads

"Behold, verily, there is the women of the Scarlet Letter; and, of a truth, moreover, there is the likeness of the scarlet letter running alongside her”

Let’s talk a little bit about self-fulfilling prophecy. If an entire community, and religious sect, brand a girl’s mother as a sinner, whether justly or unjustly, then surely the girl will take some of this to heart? If the only world she has ever known is one when he only parent is considered ungodly, blasphemous and full of sin, then surely she will begin to reflect some of these ideals? When the Puritans branded Hester with the Scarlet Letter, they also branded her daughter (metaphorically speaking, of course.)

description

This novel is a political message directly pointed at the Puritans of early America. In their blind devoutness they almost cause the very thing they are actually preaching against. Ultimately, Hawthorne portrays the religious sect as hypocrites who are completely self-defeating in their actions. What’s the point in preaching a religion if you don’t fully adhere to its doctrine? There’s none. Actions have consequences, so does unjustified damnation. Indeed, in this the author establishes how some extreme piety can almost cause impiety. Religion can be taken too far. Christianity is built upon the principals of forgiveness, and repentance, not punishment and the shaming of the guilty. Well, what the Puritans perceive as guilty. Then there is the entire separate issue of the fact that those men of the cloth can be guilty too. Nobody is completely pure despite what they think.

Hester’s biggest sin is getting pregnant outside of marriage. In their persecution of her they don’t consider how she could be the victim in all this. I’m not saying that she is, in this regard, but to the best of their knowledge she could well be. She could have been raped. They’re also unforgivingly sexist; they, again, consider Hester to be the guilty party without recognising that it takes two to do the deed. Their ignorance knows no bounds to the realities of life; they shield themselves with their religious virtue and do not consider that there is a harsh world out there. Men like this are dangerous, and in this Hawthorne establishes his message.

“I have laughed, in bitterness and agony of heart, at the contrast between what I seem and what I am!”

description

This is a very accomplished novel; it provides an interesting perspective on a crucial part of American history. It was an enlightening read, but toward the middle it’s focus did begin to dwindle. I felt like there were a few passages of convoluted and unnecessary narration. I mean this was short, though it could have been a little shorter. The middle was drawn out with some irrelevant events thrown in. I’m not entirely sure of their point. The language combination was also a little odd at times; it felt like the author had lifted certain expressions straight from Shakespeare’s vocabulary and infused it with his own. The result was a very disjointed and hard to read combination.

The overall message of this piece of literature is what makes it a worthy read even if its delivery was a little pedantic at times. Overall, though, I do attest that this is a rather undervalued novel. The socio-historical context it provides is tremendous. This is a classic I’m very glad I read. The overall message of this piece of literature is what makes it a worthy read even if its delivery was a little pedantic at times.
150 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Scarlet Letter.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

Started Reading
November 1, 2015 – Shelved as: classics
November 1, 2015 – Shelved
November 1, 2015 – Finished Reading
February 22, 2016 – Shelved as: 4-star-reads

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Karla I was surprised when I first got on Goodreads and found this one roundly hated. I loved it in high school. Great review.


7jane I really liked this book; it felt delicious and well-written :)


message 3: by Anne (new)

Anne Love that these are freebies!


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Karla wrote: "I was surprised when I first got on Goodreads and found this one roundly hated. I loved it in high school. Great review."

Yep, I was quite suprised at that too.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon 7jane wrote: "I really liked this book; it felt delicious and well-written :)"

I did to, I just found some of the lamguage to be a little odd. Perhaps, because this si the first piece of prose I've read that was set in that era.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Anne wrote: "Love that these are freebies!"

That't always good ;)


Morgan I enjoyed this book too.


message 8: by Nick (new)

Nick My advanced LA teacher talked to us about this book and i like this book by the description


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Reviewer Nick wrote: "My advanced LA teacher talked to us about this book and i like this book by the description"

You should try it them nick :-)


message 10: by Don (new)

Don I still haven't read this.


back to top