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The Scarlet Letter Paperback – June 23, 2012
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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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From School Library Journal
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.
“Anyone interested in how novels refract history will be enriched by the Broadview edition of The Scarlet Letter. The valuable introduction and extensive archival material will give readers a great foundation for using Hawthorne’s historicist methodology as a model for discussing the complexities of history and storytelling not only for Hawthorne but for contemporary readers as well.” ― Lauren Berlant, University of Chicago
“John Stephen Martin’s meticulously prepared edition of The Scarlet Letter offers both students and general readers the most comprehensive introduction to Hawthorne’s life and work currently available in one volume. With its historical contextualization, enormously helpful annotations, and judicious assessment of Hawthorne’s greatest work, it establishes itself as the single best guide to this great American masterpiece.” ― Joel Porte, Cornell University
“This edition is the most effective teaching tool for Hawthorne’s text that I know. Contained within a single volume, students have everything that is necessary for a rich understanding of one of the most important moments in American literary history. Especially donative are the substantial contextualizations provided here―literary, social, and historical―and in turn, these contextualizations ground the principal issues with which Hawthorne’s romance engages. Supplementary to all this is the extensive bibliography, far-ranging and comprehensive. This edition is easily the most comprehensive introduction to the work that is currently available.” ― Ian Bell, Keele University--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
First, this is a complicated story. It's not about evil Puritans and hero Hester, although you will read this point of view in the cheat note summaries on the internet. It's not about feminism, really, nor is it about religion in any technical sense. The only comparison that really fits is that of love story, or love triangle, or maybe love square. (I told you it is complicated.) In all of literature, there are very few writers who have penned characters so incredibly real and well-rounded. When you finish the novel, you KNOW these people. Certainly there is some minor societal commentary, but the real story here is about these people.
Now, I'm assuming that many people looking at this page have been told they must read this book for high school English. As a former teacher of said subject, I have some pointers.
(1) Make sure you read the book for yourself. Chances are (in our current educational system) your teacher is going to have a flat interpretation of this book, likely gleaned from some ready-made teaching packet. (If you have another kind of teacher, consider yourself lucky.) You can have some very interesting class discussions if you actually read the material and challenge some of the majority opinions about the novel. Be a rebel. Have some fun in English.
(2) Read *The Custom House* introduction, but wait until after you've finished the book.Read more ›
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!
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.Read more ›
Hester, practically abandoned by her husband is left to take care of herself in a lonely new world. She is flesh and bone with desires and passions like any other human being. Hester commits adultery and is found out by a cruel, judging community. She must wear a Scarlet A on the front of her dress; A for Adultery. Hester refuses to give the name of her lover Dimmesdale so he goes free and untouched by the damning society, but must face the tortures of his own conscience.
Hester is humiliated and must suffer the consequences for her actions but she is not a broken woman. She stands, brave.
Dimmesdale comes through in the end and admits his role in the dangerous game. Hawthorne takes the readers on a spinning ride to get to this point. Read it and know the exact ending for yourself. I recommend it; highly.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The only reason I rated this book with 5 stars is because of fond memories of a college professor of American literature and the wild moral debates we had in her class. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Anj
The Scarlet Letter is one of my favorite books. I first read it in 1968 when it was required reading in my high school American Literature class. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Ronald D. Johnson
It's been probably sixty years since I read The Scarlet Letter, and what a treat to revisit this masterpiece as a mature adult. Read morePublished 19 days ago by S. Houg