One of the most important novels in classic literature, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter tackles the subject of adultery, with the notorious Hester Prynne at the forefront of the scandal in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In the beginning of the novel, Hester is serving time in prison for having a child out of wedlock and is forced to wear a scarlet A on her clothing at all times, so she cannot run from her sin no matter where she goes.
"'Thou Wast Not Bold! Thou Wast Not True!'"
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, magnum opus, tells the story of Hester Prynne, who gives birth two years after separation from her husband and is condemned to wear the scarlet letter A on her breast as punishment for her adultery. She resists all attempts of the 17th century Boston clergy to make her reveal the name of her child’s father while she struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity.
This powerful story of passion, adultery, honor, and repression caused a tremendous controversy in 1850 when it was published, because of its provocative subject matter. Set in Puritan New England, the novel begins with Hester Prynne, a young woman with an illegitimate baby daughter, leaving prison to face her scornful townsfolk. Forced to wear a scarlet letter "A" to remind people of her adultery, Hester obstinately holds her head high and refuses to reveal the father of her child.
"Unbearable quality recording"
The novel traces the impact of a single, scandalous act on the lives of three community members: the tragic, defiant Hester Prynne, the tortured Reverend Dimmesdale and the vengeful Chillingsworth. A philosophical exploration of man's struggle with guilt, sin, and pride, Hawthorne's masterpiece remains a cornerstone of American literature.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s magnum opus exploring the themes of legalism, sin and guilt.
"You get what you pay for."
It is 1642 in the Puritan town of Boston. Hester Prynne has been found guilty of adultery and has born an illegitimate child. In lieu of being put to death, she is condemned to wear the scarlet letter "A" on her dress as a reminder of her shameful act.
"Hasts and Thous"
In this book's introduction, an autobiographical account of the author's years as an American Custom House official, Hawthorne describes how he came across a parchment from which fell a fraying piece of fabric, fantastically embroidered and inscribed with the scarlet letter A. He found himself compelled to tell the story of its owner, Hester Prynne, a young English woman who had lived in 17th-century Boston at the time when Puritan extremism - that which led to the infamous witch trials of Salem - was at its height.
The story opens in Puritan Boston, a settlement only fifteen or twenty years old. A young woman stands on a scaffold clasping a three-month-old baby. As a married woman with a missing husband and a new baby, Hester Prynne could have been sentenced to death for the crime of adultery. Instead she is condemned to always wear the letter A as a badge of her shame. As she stands there, she sees her long-missing husband, who has been held captive by Indians.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic masterpiece The Scarlet Letter is set in 17th century Salem, Massachusetts, and concerns the public condemnation of Hester Prynne, who bears an illegitimate child. However, the story is not about adultery, nor is it specifically about sin. Rather it traces the effect of actual and symbolic sin on the mind and spirit of each character.
"Great Version for People With Attention Deficit"
Considered his masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter is Hawthorne's story of Hester Prynne and her daughter, Pearl, conceived through an adulterous affair with a Puritan pastor in 17th century Boston. From start to finish, the book explores the themes of law, guilt, and sin. Since its appearance in 1850, this magnificent book has been a perennial favorite among young and old, though it was extremely controversial when it was first published.
Written in the winter of 1849, The Scarlet Letter unfolds the story of Hester Prynne, a young woman branded as an adulteress in the harsh Puritan world of 17th-century New England. As Hester calls on her inner strength to transcend her shame, the scarlet letter ceases to be a stigma and finally becomes Hester's symbol of self-affirmation. This dramatic reading heightens the sense of lyric poetry that permeates every line of Nathaniel Hawthorne's great novel.
The CliffsNotes study guide on Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter supplements the original literary work, giving you background information about the author, an introduction to the work, and commentaries, all for you to use as an educational tool that will allow you to better understand the work.
The Scarlet Letter is one of the great classics of American literature. Set in the harsh Puritan environment of the 17th century Boston, it describes the plight of Hester Prynne, an independent-minded woman who stands alone against society.
"not so pleased"
The Scarlet Letter, published in 1850, is an American romance written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and is generally considered to be his masterpiece. Set in Puritanical Boston in the 17th century, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who gives birth after committing adultery, refuses to name the father, and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne explores the issues of grace, legalism, sin, and guilt.
"As good as it can get..."
The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is considered to be one of the greatest examples of true American literature. Its excellency of topic, characterization, and description has made it a permanent part of our history. Set in Salem, Massachusetts in the 1600s, it describes the life of Hester Prynne, a Puritan woman whose existence is marred by sin. The real genius of the book is found in its description.
"Narration is awful!"
This is a troubling story of crime, sin, guilt, punishment and expiation, set in the rigid moral climate of 17th-century New England. The young mother of an illegitimate child confronts her Puritan judges. However, it is not so much her harsh sentence, but the cruelties of slowly exposed guilt as her lover is revealed, that hold the reader enthralled all the way to the book's poignant climax.
"A Compelling Story"
Scarlet is the colour of sin, and the letter ’A’ stands for ’Adultery’. In the 1600s, in Boston, Massachusetts, love was allowed only between a husband and a wife. A child born outside marriage was a child of sin. Hester Prynne must wear the scarlet letter on her dress for the rest of her life. How can she ever escape from this public shame? What will happen to her child, growing up in the shadow of the scarlet letter? The future holds no joy for Hester Prynne.
This week, Kurt Andersen talks with Jessica Lange, who currently stars in the FX miniseries American Horror Story: Coven. We consider the blunders that lead Darwin and Einstein to their most brilliant scientific discoveries. And in American Icons, we revisit Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Puritan romance novel The Scarlet Letter — in the age of the internet sex scandal, we find Hester Prynnes living within our midst.
Ellery had a simple case. A few days of discreet snooping, some choice advice, and the inimitable sleuth would blithely restore domestic harmony to the millionaire couple Dirk and Martha Lawrence. Then came the scarlet letters. And finally the cryptic clue, scrawled in a murdered man’s blood. A simple case? Unless Ellery did some super-fast sleuthing, he’d have nothing to show but a very scarlet face. The case will drag him all over New York as he hunts for the truth.
"An Interesting Twist"
Fiercely romantic and hugely influential, The Scarlet Letter is the tale of Hester Prynne, imprisoned, publicly shamed, and forced to wear a scarlet for committing adultery and bearing an illegitimate child, Pearl. In their small Puritan village, Hester and her daughter struggle to survive. In this searing study of the tension between private and public existence, Hester Prynne’s inner strength and quiet dignity secure her place as one of the first great heroines of American fiction.