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The Scarlet Letter [Paperback]

Nathaniel Hawthorne
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (772 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 18, 2013 1936594277 978-1936594276
THE SCARLET LETTER is considered Nathaniel Hawthorne's most famous novel-and the first quintessentially American novel in style, theme, and language.

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9-Up Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel of Puritanism giving rise to twisted gender politics, hypocrisy, and strength of character in the face of public scorn is well realized in this reading by Annie Wauters. She gives individual tone and rhythm to each of the main characters, while keeping the passages of narrative relatively uninflected. While this suits the author's own sometimes dry writing, it means that listeners must get to the second hour before the story truly gets underway. Since this lengthy forepart fits almost entirely onto the first disk, and each chapter is clearly marked as to track number on the packaging, it is possible to simply skip ahead rather than give up what becomes a delightfully lively listening experience once the romance gets going. Because the reading adheres so entirely to the print in spirit as well as in word, this is an excellent choice for students who cannot access print or who would like to accomplish college prep reading while undertaking other activities. Sturdy packaging makes this a shelf ready purchase.
Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, published in 1850. It is considered a masterpiece of American literature and a classic moral study. The novel is set in a village in Puritan New England. The main character is Hester Prynne, a young woman who has borne an illegitimate child. Hester believes herself a widow, but her husband, Roger Chillingworth, returns to New England very much alive and conceals his identity. He finds his wife forced to wear the scarlet letter A on her dress as punishment for her adultery. Chillingworth becomes obsessed with finding the identity of his wife's former lover. When he learns that the father of Hester's child is Arthur Dimmesdale, a saintly young minister who is the leader of those exhorting her to name the child's father, Chillingworth proceeds to torment the guilt-stricken young man. In the end Chillingworth is morally degraded by his monomaniacal pursuit of revenge; Dimmesdale is broken by his own sense of guilt, and he publicly confesses his adultery before dying in Hester's arms. Only Hester can face the future bravely, as she plans to take her daughter Pearl to Europe to begin a new life. --The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature

Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Tribeca Books (November 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936594277
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936594276
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (772 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
150 of 174 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, but hard to navigate ebook November 5, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have long wanted to read this book by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was one of the first books I downloaded when I got my kindle 2. The character portrayals are superb. It analyses the thoughts, motivations, strengths and weaknesses of the four major characters in the story - Hester Prynn, the vengeful doctor, the hapless minister and Hester's vivacious and elf-like daughter Pearl. The description of the little girl and how she copes with being ostracized with her mother by a rigid puritanical society, is especially moving. While there are some descriptions of nature that are quite vivid, most of the text goes into developing these four characters and is a fascinating psychological study, though at times it's little slow.

Overall, a well-crafted story and a good read.

The book though is hard to navigate on the kindle because it has no active table of contents. I therefore would not purchase this version at regular price. Luckily, it's free!
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196 of 237 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Scarlet Letter" September 6, 2000
By D. Bass
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Like many reviewers here, I was "forced" to read this book for my English Composition class. However, unlike many reviewers here, I have a much different view of the story. As some people have said before, Hawthorne's book takes a good deal of concentration, effort, and strength to understand. Not only to understand, but to finish. The story can drag sometimes, it is true, and Hawthorne's style of writing occasionally leaves something to be desired (I don't think I've ever seen that many commas, 15 letter words, or page long paragraphs before), but we simply must look past these minor issues. Overall, the plot is highly creative and intense, despite the writing.\
Ok, ok, I agree that the first chapter, "The Custom-House", was pretty bad. In fact, it was so bad and boring that I drifted off to sleep several times while reading it! The first chapter has little relevancy with the story, so, unless you have to, I would suggest skipping that part of the text. The rest is exceptionally good, and the quality of the plot cannot be overlooked. My advice is to just lay off the first chapter; that way you'll be able to enjoy the rest of the book without difficulty.
The story itself deals with sin and adultery, a subject that isn't very popular right now. Hawthorne does an excellent job of telling us about this, but he leaves the reader with many questions floating around in his mind at the conclusion. At the end of the story you're not 100% sure if Hawthorne was condemning the Puritan society, or if he was commending it. He leaves that for the reader to figure out, which is a thing authors seldom do. That's a major reason I believe this work is so unique and timeless.
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98 of 122 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and Creative December 14, 2008
Format:Paperback
The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, takes place in the 1600s in Boston, which was a Puritan community at that time. The Puritans had extremely strict moral codes, and adultery, a subject matter in this novel, was deemed by the Puritans in the same way that felonies today are regarded. The novel's plot is directed by the Puritans' reactions to such behavior.

Nearly all classic novels get praised for character "development." However, the Scarlet Letter is the only novel I have read so far that, in my opinion, truly demonstrates development of characters. All other novels I have read have "exploration" of characters, but not actual development. Development of characters involves portraying the changes in a person's personality as a result of conflict.

In my opinion, the most impressive aspect of the Scarlet Letter is the ingenious connection between the novel's message and character development. In the Scarlet Letter, a single incident of adultery has unforeseen consequences that affect four people. How each character responds to the situation determines his or her physical and mental outcome in the story. The core message of the novel is that hiding one's sins causes more anguish than revealing one's sins.

The character development is superb, but the novel does not seem to use the developed characters to influence the plot. The subject of adultery was a creative element to develop characters, but I wish that the author had introduced a different conflict toward the end of the novel to show how the 3D characters would have reacted to the change in subject matter.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth shall set you free. August 10, 1999
By TJ
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is the first of two grand contributions that Nathaniel Hawthorne made to American literature (the second being the inspiration that he provided to Herman Melville during the composition of Moby Dick.) Like all great books, this novel deals with issues which are timeless and central to the human condition. Can (or should) the state legislate morality? If so, to what degree? Which is the greater sin, a momentary weakness or a sustained and conscious deception? Which is the greater punishment, public humiliation or private guilt? And, perhaps most importantly, what is the proper response to each? The novel provides clear and compelling examples of tragic consequences which can be avoided by the simple, but sometimes difficult, act of telling the truth. The permeating sadness of the story results from the failure of each character to do so.
Despite comments here to the contrary, this book is not difficult to read or understand, and it is not dull if you can grasp its themes. The ideas expressed are intricate and symbolism is pervasive throughout the story. However, any reader who really wants to understand and enjoy the book should not have great difficulty in doing so. To those readers who feel challenged to appreciate this book, Hawthorne himself offers you a thought (on page 18 of my edition) which you should seriously consider --
"It contributes greatly towards a man's moral and intellectual health to be brought into habits of companionship with individuals unlike himself, who care little for his pursuits, and whose sphere and abilities he must go out of himself to appreciate."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The introductory chapter is tough, but it still adds ...
The introductory chapter is tough, but it still adds to the story itself by setting a mood. Old fashioned language, but suspenseful story!
Published 17 hours ago by L. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love classic you will love this
Many thanks, Amazon, you are GREAT for providing us with all these great books for FREE. I also want to thank the many, many authors who offer us their talent for free or at a... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Jen
1.0 out of 5 stars books suck
i hate books
Published 2 days ago by William ware
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank you!
Published 4 days ago by Denise Lareau
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book.
Published 4 days ago by Tanya
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I have read a ton of "classics" and this one leaves wondering why it is a classic.
Published 5 days ago by wolfman2911
5.0 out of 5 stars You will not be disappointed in this one
Ouf ! sometimes tough read, but most interesting. You will not be disappointed in this one.
Published 5 days ago by MADMAX
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Very old
Published 7 days ago by kary quintana
4.0 out of 5 stars Through many trials and great suffering, she finally reconciles her...
In Nathanial Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter,” Hester Prynne grapples with the shame of being branded a fan of Alabama’s Crimson Tide. Read more
Published 8 days ago by hoosierdaddy68
5.0 out of 5 stars scarlet letter
excellent story
Published 9 days ago by A. butusov
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