Book Review of “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne


I know some of you may be curious as to why anyone would read The Scarlet Letter  by Nathaniel Hawthorne for fun. This book is typically one you’re forced to read for your high school English class and  you end up looking up the SparkNotes for it because you can’t get through it. I, however, am one of those odd people that genuinely enjoy this book. Once you get past the way it’s written, it is a beautiful story about love and more so about loss.

Scarlet Letter 1.png
This is a beautiful fan art cover created by John Hallman. The ‘A’,her sin, is engraved into her skin so she can never escape it. 

The Scarlet Letter is a work of fiction that  was written in 1850 and is set in 17th century Puritan Boston, Massachusetts. At the beginning of the book we are introduced to Hester Prynne and her infant daughter, Pearl. Hester conceived her daughter due to an affair. She refuses to name the father, though we find out who he is about seven years down the line. Of course, at this point in history having a child out of wedlock was a serious offense. Hester is punished by having to wear a scarlet letter ‘A’ on her chest for the rest of her life. This was to let all the other upstanding Puritans know that she was an adulteress. For the rest of the story you see Pearl grow up and Hester deal with the lot she’s been given.

Sadly enough, this book doesn’t have a happy ending. Hester loves her child’s father but ends up losing him. I’m sure nobody would care if I spoiled how the book ends with it being as old as it is, but I believe you should find out for yourself. There’s a pretty good movie based on the book if you’re not into reading.

To be honest the first 75% of this book drags for me. There is SO much detail and the way it’s written is off putting because it’s very formal and old fashioned English. If you can get through all that, though, this is one of the most tragic, but beautiful, love stories I’ve ever read. This is the first of many old classics that I plan to read and review. I’ve made it my goal to read as many as I can this year, so you’ll be seeing more of those soon! Let me know if you’ve read this or seen the movie and what you think about it! Thank you for reading and have a great day!

3 thoughts on “Book Review of “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

  1. themusingidealist

    I love this book, too. My favorite image is of Pearl like a wild creature running around with a stick destroying her representations of the townsfolk. Pearl is awesome.


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