Book report of The Scarlet Letter

Essay by luyuanshanCollege, UndergraduateF, April 2004

download word file, 4 pages 4.5

Written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in Salem and Concord, late 1840s, The Scarlet Letter was a daring and even subversive book. It was published in 1850 in Massachusetts by Ticknor, Reed, and Fields.

The story tells of the forbidden love affairs, which happens between a sensitive, religious young priest, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, and the passionate, beautiful young lady, Hester Prynne. To start the story, the author doubtless startles us by his unique design. Dimmesdale stands by in silence as Hester suffers for the "sin" he helped to commit on the scaffold. Hester's husband, Chillingworth who failed to join her in Boston happens to witness such shameful situation: his wife was accused of sin of adultery and sentenced to wear the dress in which the scarlet letter embroidered. Thus he decides to hide his true identity and find out who is the accomplice of his wife. Though Dimmesdale's conscience plagues him and affects his health, he chooses not to expose their secret to the public because of his honorable identity.

Day by day, them three all suffer a lot from this scarlet letter.

The climactic scene, deliberately designed by the author, occurs at the end of the book. Here, the characters' secrets are publicly exposed and their fates sealed. Dimmesdale, Hester, and Chillingworth not only acknowledge their secrets to themselves and to each other.

On the other hand, the writer gives us an ambiguous end. What on earth are Hester's and Pearl's lives like after the deaths of "the priest and doctor" is a question leaving a huge space for the readers to employ their imagination.

Many of Hawthorne's stories are set in Puritan New England, and this greatest novel, The Scarlet Letter has become the classic portrayal of Puritan America. Set in Boston around 1650 during early Puritan...