Scarlett Letter Book Review

Length: 4 pages Subject: Literature Type: Book Review Paper: #26382173 Related Topics: Unconditional Love, The Pearl, Literary, Literary Theme
Excerpt from Book Review :

Scarlett Letter

Review of the Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850. Hawthorne has been canonized in many literary circles and is widely recognized as one of the most famous writers of American literature. He wrote The Scarlet Letter at the age of 46, at a time in which he lived with his wife in Concord, Massachusetts. Hawthorne belonged to the Transcendentalist school of writers, which included notable New England writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau; this group of writers were less indebted to religion than was common at the time, and preferred to look toward nature and individual thought as sources of wisdom. By the time that The Scarlet Letter was written, Hawthorne was already a well-established writer. He had published his first novel in 1828, a full 22 years before The Scarlet Letter. In this regard, The Scarlet Letter should be viewed as the work of a mature man well-situated in his middle age years.

The Scarlet Letter is firmly placed in the canon of American literary works and is still taught in high school and college literature courses. Because American culture is now more religiously tolerant and less discriminatory with regard to women, the book does not have as much of a radical feel as it did when it was first published. However, Hawthorne uses significant amounts of symbolism and irony, as well as many themes relating to the dynamic between men and women and the importance of religion. The plot involves a woman named Hester Prynne, who has given birth to a child (Pearl), and the plot outline involves the attempt to force Hester to reveal the identity of the father of the baby. The use of symbol is very significant in the novel, as Hawthorne reworks the symbol of the Mother and Child that is particularly common in Western art. The other literary element discussed in this paper involves theme; specifically, how exactly the book is a


Ultimately, The Scarlet Letter is such an important novel because it addresses the emptiness of symbols and reflects how people should be tolerant of others.

The plot involves a woman named Hester Prynne and the search for the identity of the father of her baby. The book takes place in Boston, Massachusetts in the mid-17th century. At the start of the novel, Hester stands before the town on a pulpit, with her daughter, Pearl, in her arms. The town is enraged because it is apparent that Hester has had the child illegitimately, as her husband was lost at sea at the time. During the procession, an elderly gentleman enters the town square and asks why there is such a commotion. It is later revealed that the man is Roger Chillingworth, Hester's estranged husband. Although the public wants to separate Hester from her child (out of the belief that a woman who had a child out of wedlock could not possibly be able to adequately care for her offspring), the benevolent minister, Arthur Dimmesdale, ensures that Hester is able to continue living with Pearl. In the book's climax, it is revealed that Dimmesdale is actually the father of Pearl and he dies immediately before Hester is to leave for Europe with him and Pearl. Chillingworth goes to Europe with Hester and Pearl, but dies shortly thereafter. Hester eventually returns to Boston at the conclusion of the book.

One of the main literary elements of The Scarlet Letter involves Hawthorne's use of symbol and the way in which he critiques them. In particular, the relevance of the Mother and Child symbol is challenged. The Mother and Child symbol is one of the most revered throughout the history of Western civilization, as it refers to the image of the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus. The image is viewed as representing the sacred nature of childbirth and celebrates…

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