The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Published: 2009 (Originally published 1850)
Challenges: 2012 Library Challenge, 2012 Support Your Library Challenge, Back to the Classics 2012, 2012 Where You Are Reading, 2012 A Classics Challenge
A passionate young woman, her cowardly lover, and her aging, vengeful husband are the central characters in this stark drama of the conflict between passion and convention in the harsh world of seventeenth-century Boston.
Tremendously moving and rich in psychological insight, this tragic novel of sin and redemption addresses our Puritan past. Depicting the struggle between mind and heart, Hawthorne fashioned a masterpiece of American fiction. (via Goodreads)
Thoughts: This was a book I had been wanting to read for quite sometime due to just the fact of the nature of what it dealt with and because its a book that is referred to in many ways. I think expected something more than what I actually encountered. While it was well-written, I did find it a bit mundane and sometimes a little dull and slow moving. While I understand the point of the book, it just felt like there was something missing and I suppose it was because there was this hype that surrounded the book that it was something that I was expecting. In otherwords, what I expected isn't what I got out of the book. It is very well written and from that standpoint it was very good and I can clearly see why its considered to be classic, especially in terms of the American canon of American literature. Hawthorne clearly makes his point that we as humans struggle between what we know is right and what we feel is right and how the two are constantly in conflict with one another. I recommend the book, but only with the pretext that it isn't the salicous book that its sometimes made out to be.
Now if I take out my expectations of the book, the book as a whole rates higher than what I gave it, probably closer to a four than a three. Hawthorne's language does draw one into the story and when you find out what happens in the end (I am not going to spill the beans for those that still wish to read the book), you can see why Hawthorne paced the book the way he did. What I am bit surprised about the book was that it was Hawthorne's first major piece that was written and was really his only well-known work, unlike Dickens who seemed to turn out well-known pieces on a regular basis (did some research on Hawthorne and he wrote other pieces of fiction, but nothing that I recognized).
Bottom line: If you are looking for something that is rich in detail, both the psychologist and physical environment, it is worth the read. He gets into a place that very few writers have been able to get into and presents something that is rich and poses to us the fact that we are constantly struggling between what we know is right in our heads and what we feel is right at the moment and the turmoil that it gives us. An really good read, but don't go in with preconceived expectations of what the book is about.
Pages for 2012: 1920