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.
Hester Prynne settles in a little town in Puritan-era Massachusetts while awaiting her husband's arrival from England. Hester becomes pregnant, exposing her sin in the eyes of the townsfolk. Her penalty: wearing an embroidered A on her bosom for the remainder of her life. When Hester's husband arrives in the town anticipating a joyous reunion with his young wife, he instead begins a cankering quest to uncover the father of Hester's child.
"A classic must read"
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!'"
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.
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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 magnum opus exploring the themes of legalism, sin and guilt.
"You get what you pay for."
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.
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.
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!"
Meet Maggie, Eva, and Lisa, founders of The Scarlet Letter Society. Named as such due to their various infidelities, both physical and emotional, the SLS is their refusal to be shamed like Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic tale of forbidden longing. Maggie is twice divorced and juggling three lovers - one of whom is her first ex-husband. Eva is trapped in a loveless marriage and has turned to her young intern and a seductive French chef for satisfaction.
"Funny, sexy, and so entertaining!"
Set in the Puritanical society of 17th-century Boston, this novel tells the story of Hester Prynne, a married woman who has an affair and gives birth to a daughter. Hester refuses to name her lover, but when her estranged husband appears unexpectedly, he determines to discover the man's identity.
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"
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"
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.
A stark and allegorical tale of adultery, guilt, and social repression in Puritan New England, The Scarlet Letter is a foundational work of American literature. Nathaniel Hawthorne's exploration of the dichotomy between the public and private self, internal passion and external convention, gives us the unforgettable Hester Prynne, who discovers strength in the face of ostracism and emerges as a heroine ahead of her time. As Kathryn Harrison points out in her Introduction, Hester is "the herald of the modern American heroine...."
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"
Hester Prynne commits adultery in a Puritan settlement and, as a result, is "branded" for the rest of her life by having to wear a scarlet letter "A" on her breast. Throughout the story, a complex relationship develops between Hester, her lover, her husband, and her daughter.
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.
In 1642, a pregnant Hester Prynne is found guilty of adultery, shunned by her neighbors, and forced to wear a scarlet letter 'A' on her dress. Meanwhile, Hester's husband - long thought to be lost at sea - has returned to Boston under the assumed name 'Roger Chillingworth' and plots to uncover her lover's identity. After her daughter Pearl is born, Hester is frequently visited by both Reverend Dimmesdale and Chillingworth, but always refuses to name her lover.
"Not for me"