American Lit · Books that have film Adaptations

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of the Scarlet Letter.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of the Scarlet Letter.

I only knew of it because it was referenced in the 1996 film, Primal Fear.

I finished the book at long last, and I never thought I could.

Its the story of Hester Prynne, a young woman in New England who wears a scarlet letter A to symbolize that she had a child out of wedlock. The book has a lot to say – if you are willing to withstand the old writing style and drawn out sentences.

Maybe I’m being pernickety. The writing style is certainly eloquent, but I get the feeling Mr Hawthorne would write 100 words when 10 would do. Still, we are still able to get a vivid picture of the New England life that Hester lived with her daughter, Pearl. I now think I will always have a love/ hate relationship with this book and one day I want to come back to it and read it properly. But for now, I can appreciate it for what it has to say. At the end, it is written almost as if Hawthorne were retelling a legend or a myth.

Another reason why people may not appreciate it so much now is because we are so used to saying as few words as possible.
This book is good enough, with a somewhat whimsical ending. I swung between extremes when reading it, but if I’d have had to read it for school I wouldn’t have enjoyed it.

MY RATING: 3 / 5.



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