Book Review: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first read The Scarlet Letter as a Junior in high school: American Lit.

No one had previously bothered to tell me that classics endure because they are so readable and have something to say that is worth listening to, so I procrastinated and read … er … skimmed it at the last minute and was shocked that I kind of liked it.

I kept meaning to re-read it. 30 years later, I’ve now done so via audiobook.

I still enjoyed it.

I found that even though I remembered few of the particulars regarding the story, those that I did remember and/or had been reinforced in general other reading made this effort that much more interesting. Hawthorne’s masterful use of foreshadowing and understatement, his turn of phrase, his reading of human nature all made this listening one that I wanted to continue on to completion.

You may not agree with Hawthorne, you may find his narrative dark and uncharitable to the townsfolk, but the rewards of doing right (after having done wrong) vs the ravages of guilt vs the wages of revenge are clearly displayed in the story. It is classic American lit and ought to be read and revisited.

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