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The Scarlet Letter Paperback – August 27, 2008
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Dover Thrift Study Edition makes everything so easy to understand while still giving the reader a chance to find their own way through the text.
The book itself is in the front, but the back holds character descriptions as they come in, chapter (or chapters) summaries and then an analysis of what has happened and what it means in the bigger picture.
Whenever I must read a classic my go to is to see if they have it in a Dover Thrift Study Edition. It makes my life so much easier and I also get so much more out of the book than if I had just read it alone.
to tell who the father is. She is sentenced to wear a red letter "A" on her clothes for the rest of her life. The story takes place in the next 7 years and how she is treated, and how the baby's daddy is dealing with the guilt. It is a great story about redemption and sin and conscience with a fairly powerful ending. Because the book is pretty old some of the language gets bogged down. I felt a little bored at exploring the psyche of the main characters, maybe even skipped paragraphs getting to the story. But it's worth the ending.
The prologue, leading to the tale of the discovery of the story (the Scarlet Letter is presented as a story-within-a-story) is long and leaves the reader impatient. Since it pertains to a different location and time from the main story, it is not quite clear how it enhances the tale.
The depictions of human feelings are exquisitely detailed, which is fairly remarkable because they are almost invariably gloomy feelings of guilt and shame. The pace, very slow at first, picks up towards the dramatic denouement, followed by a rather unsatisfactory conclusion. One wishes that the author would have thumbed his nose at the Puritans and allowed Hester Prynne a happy life ever after, but Hawthorne does not violate the moral conventions of the age and the conclusion would therefore have satisfied the most moralistic readers. No happy ending here, except for the one innocent character, so everyone who sinned paid the price, amen.
Seen in the light of the moral tradition in which the novel is set, and the barely less strict society in which it was written, the quality of the writing serves the purpose of moral edification beautifully. The long sentence, with their complex embedded clauses and dated vocabulary, is sometimes hard to follow, but always limpid once parsed. In that sense it is reminiscent of another moral tale of the age, Melville's Moby Dick, minus the see and with a different capital sin involved.
Overall, this is one of the canons of literature that should be part of the weel-educated reader's collection.
On the other hand, Young Goodman Brown and The Birthmark are excellently told, as those works really needed that level of detail, the former being a mix between fantasy and horror, and the latter involving elements of science fiction.