July 28, 2017

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

This is quite a quick read, but a very moral one. I found it easiest to skip the somewhat endless “in her heart she…” and “in his head he…” etc etc.

The Scarlet LetterThe book tells the story of Hester Prynne, a married woman who travelled to America ahead of her husband. Her husband then failed to appear in America and she ended up pregnant in a very religious community near Boston.

The story starts with her punishment – 3 hours on the pillory with babe in arms a scarlet “A” pinned to her breast. She steadfastly refuses to name the father. It’s the mystery of the father, and how she copes with her punishment that forms the core of this tale.

Other key people in the story areRoger Cillingworth a travelling self educated doctor who saves her from madness the night after the pillory. And Rev Mr Dimmesdale a young and very learned priest.

Hester refuses to take her punishment lightly, earning a good living from her embroidery skills, and dressing her daughter pearl lavishly. BUT using the rest of her income not to dress herself, but to clothe and look after the poor.

The story then jumps to seven years later, when in order to save pretty much everyone’s soul Hester decides it’s time to meet with the father and for them to give in to their desires and leave. With the vivacious and slightly insane Pearl.

A very moral tale with many many levels. Not really my cup of tea, but if you are going to read it I seriously suggest you skip the preface – v tedious!

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