Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Scarlet Letter - Review.

Before I do my book review... I want to say a couple of things.
1. Tonight I stopped saxophone lessons. I have thought a lot about this and my decision has not come lightly. I don't want to talk long about this... But the short of it is: I lost my passion for it and I don't see myself playing my whole life. I don't enjoy it as much as my other music (piano and voice). Plus, along with that, it's one last thing I have to worry about and practice.
2. On a happier note... I went to Barnes and Nobles tonight and saw, for the second time, The Hobbit novel, translated into Latin. *shakes head* Hee hee... It's so odd. Why Latin?
Also at Barnes and Nobles I saw DOCTOR WHO STUFF!!!!! =D They had a t-shirt ("You never forget your first doctor"), the 11th Doctor's sonic screwdriver (if they had had Nine's, I would have gotten it - but they didn't), some toys (a talking Dalek. Hee hee. And a lot of TARDIS'), and also a 50th anniversary edition of Doctor Who Monopoly.
It was super cool.

Now onto my review.

Title: The Scarlet Letter. (Book for literature class.)

Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Synopsis: Hester Prynne has committed adultery and has borne a daughter, Pearl. In the Puritan community in the 1600's this is a horrible crime. As a result, Hester must wear a scarlet letter A on her bosom. Meanwhile, Hester's husband finds out and is determined to find and torture the man who fathered Pearl. Also there is Arthur Dimmesdale, who is a pastor suffering with a secret that would cost him his position.

My rating: 5/10.

Why I liked the story: It was relatively easy to read and the chapters were short. I think the longest one (not counting "The Custom House") is about six or seven pages. That was nice. It was a much easier read (and shorter) than The Last of the Mohicans, which was the last literature book.
Nathaniel Hawthorne is a good writer. He has a way of capturing your emotions and making you wish that everything ends happily (which is doesn't). He twists your emotions and in the end, you wish that Hester and Pearl's father get together, which is sinful and wrong, but you still feel it.
He portrayed his characters well.
The themes of the book were good: Sin and the result of sin; judgement; and stuff like that.
There were no swear words or open use of the word adultery (which is kind of interesting).

Why I didn't like the story/things you need to know: I was really stretching to come up with good things to say about this book because the truth of it is, I did not enjoy this book. My mom loves it, though. It would be a lie to say that I understood why.
Anyway, in my opinion, the bad outweighs the good. I'm not even sure where to start... Maybe with Pearl.
Pearl is Hester's daughter. She is a wild child and Hester doesn't really control her... (In the book they say she can't because Pearl is too wild). It is mentioned several times that Pearl is 'otherworldly' and elfish. Almost as if she's possessed or a changling or something.
Hawthorne put Hester in kind of the light of an angel. I didn't think that was right because she did sin and that shouldn't be portrayed in a white, pure kind of way.
Also, the characters had so much inner turmoil. All they had to do was go to God and ask for forgiveness, but instead they stew inside themselves.
Hawthorne didn't really portray the Puritans accurately.

Have I read it before? Nope.

Will I read it again? I'm not planning to as of right now but who knows, that may change in the future.

Would I recommend it? Maybe as a one time read.

Overall I didn't like the book... Other might, however. It certainly gets you thinking.


  1. Yeah, for me it was one of those books where everyone's like, "Oh, it's a classic, it's amazing, etc." But I just really did not like it. A big reason was, like you said, the way he portrayed Hester's sin -- but another reason is because, when I read a book, I become really immersed in the "mood" and it can really affect me. And this was a depressing one. Along the lines of The Crucible, which was also well-written but extremely frustrating.

    Great review, by the way, you're really good at them!

  2. From what I've heard this is one of those books that very few people like. Considering I haven't heard a pro-read-this-book review of it, I probably will try to avoid it :p