An initial response after reading the first half of The Scarlet Letter written by

Essay by cmelton05A+, February 2004

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An initial response after reading the first half of the book. What feelings has the book generated so far? What has created those feelings? Has your attitude changed since the first two chapters? If so, how? What has caused the change? What does Hawthorne expect of you as a reader? Has he tried to manipulate you in any way? If so, what way? What connections are you able to draw between this book and your life?

The Scarlet Letter has really surprised me as a reader. Up to this point, I have never found myself enraptured by a book of this type. However, this book is different. Hawthorne has been able to hold my attention for twelve chapters. The suspenseful style of writing grabs me by the collar and will not let me go until it is through with me. In the early chapters of the book, Hawthorne built the suspense by withholding the name of Hester Prynne's lover.

The anticipation grew until chapters nine and ten in which we are finally told the name of Hester's lover, Mr. Dimmesdale. The book started slowly, the first two chapters were mostly vivid descriptions of the town and the people, then began to pick up to a freight train-like pace that dares readers to put the book down, yet somehow, they are unable. For example, chapter one began with a description of colonial Boston,

"Certain it is, that, some fifteen or twenty years after the settlement of the town, the wooden jail was already marked with weather-stains and other indications of age, which gave a yet darker aspect to its beetle-browed and gloomy front. The rust on the ponderous iron-work of its oaken door looked more antique than anything else in the New World"(45)

I have also noticed that Hawthorne tries...