Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter

Recently I’ve been having a classic vibe, so these are the kind of books that are coming.

Who was Nathaniel Hawthorne?
The American writer lived from 1804 to 1864. He wrote his first novel when he was only 28 years old! His art is considered to be a part of dark romanticisim and the location of most of his novels is New England, where The Scarlet Letter takes place as well. One of his ancestors was a judge in the Salem witch trials and most of his works is about the sin. The Scarlet Letter is considered his masterpiece and it was published in 1850.

What is the Scarlet Letter about?
It’s about a woman, Hester Prynne who has to face trials because she had a love affair with a man who is not her husband. She has to wear a scarlet letter A on her chest as a sign of her sin and she is living an isolated life with her illegitimate daughter, Pearl. She works very hard as a seamstress and often helps the unfortunate. Her husband turns up from a long journey and asks her not to reveal his identity. As time goes by, her lover gets unmasked and the whole town has to face the truth.

What kind of question does the book raise?
Can we call someone a sinner when we are sinners as well?
Is it better to come forward with your sin or hide it for years?
Who is a true friend and who isn’t?
Do we have to care about what other people think?
Is it possible to live happily when society rejects you?

Why did I like this book?
I always liked historical novels and this one gives us a very detailed description about the 19th century’s puritan American society and religious beliefs. Although the book is 167 years old it still makes very accurate points about the hypocrisy of people. I also liked how the story unfolded and when it began to dawn on me who Hester’s lover was, I has another interesting character to pay attention to. Even though it is a sad story the whole novel has a very peaceful sentiment.

What kind of movies did the book inspire?
There are two film adaptations of the novel. The earlier one is from 1995 and the main actors are Demi Moore and Gary Oldman.

The latter one is from 2015.

But it also inspired a romantic comedy with Emma Stone and Penn Badgley.

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