Tag Archives: The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Image Description: The Peguin Classics book-cover of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It features an angry looking brunette-haired woman wearing a black vintage-style pilgrim dress with a white collar and white cuffs, she is cradling to her chest a brunette-curly-haired infant in white swaddling clothes and/or a white sheet.
Title: The Scarlet Letter
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Publisher: Paperback: Penguin Classics and Audible: Cherry Hill Publishing
Format and Price: Paperback at $12.99 and Audible Book at $7.95
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

About The Author:
Nathaniel Hawthorne was a 19th century American novelist and short story writer. He is seen as a key figure in the development of American literature for his tales of the nation’s colonial history. Much of Hawthorne’s writing centers around New England and many feature moral allegories with a Puritan inspiration. His work is considered part of the Romantic movement and includes novels, short stories, and a biography of his friend, the United States President Franklin Pierce.

About The Book:
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s most famous novel was published in 1850 and takes place in Puritan New England, focusing on a community where a beautiful young woman, Hester Prynne, and her illegitimate child are subject to persecution and ostracism; while the mother refuses to name her co-conspirator in adultery, and the father of her child burns up with secret guilt and shame. Hawthorne’s family history caused much of his interest in this time period, but his spiritual leanings toward the popular Transcendental movement precipitated this classic novel where oppression, injustice and intolerance – and their consequences – are explored in turn.

General Observations:
~It’s All Been Done Before: The difficulty in reviewing a book under the category of Classic is that it feels like everyone’s already said what needed to be said.

~The Use of Language: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s style of eloquent and descriptive language isn’t my style of writing, but the flowery language does suite the book’s style, my favourite descriptions are of the forest, the river and the brook, which take place over the couple of chapters that Pearl, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale spend talking in the forest.

~The Lady Doth Protest Too Much: I know Pearl is supposed to come across as this creepy demon-child that only a mother could love, but I honestly didn’t think she was that weird, Pearl came across as a fairly normal child considering her upbringing (and time-period) of only spending time in the company of her mother and pretty much being scorned or ignored by everyone else. A lot of the comments of “she is such a strange child” came across as projection on Hester Prynne’s part.

~Female Protagonist Problems – Passive Character: By the research I’ve done on the book, I’m informed that Hester Prynne is considered not only a martyr but a literary heroine, but I suppose I have a very different idea of what the character arch of a feminine literary hero should be, although it could most certainly be argued that Hester Prynne is a Hero by the Greek Tragedy definition. I understand the concepts of Hester Prynne’s character that Nathaniel Hawthorne is trying to convey, that good lies in the everyday small deeds of kindness and that soft is not weak.

These are good ideas and concepts to put forward, these are things I agree with, but the problem is that Hester Prynne is never an active character, she is a passive character reacting to events occurring around her, and the moment she tries to actively steer the course of her fate, it’s all ends in tragedy. And yes, some of the reason for that is the position women like her have in society and the time period the novel is set in, but unfortunately this does make the novel pacing drag in places and it is the reason why the resolution of Hester’s character arch is so confusing, or at the least, confusing to me.

~A Product of It’s Time: I understand that, at the time this novel was written, the idea of presenting people who committed adultery as people with thoughts, feelings and that they deserved the chance to redeem themselves and to be happy, you know, humanizing them instead of demonizing them, was a radical idea. But nowadays, adultery isn’t that significant anymore, certainly not to the same extent in my experience and environment (naturally this is going to be different for different people). It serves as a time-capsule of what a select group of people in the USA used to be and how the practise of community scapegoating really doesn’t help society develop better into a more progressive community.

All in all, it’s a good book, and while it is definitely worth a read, however, I feel as though I will find Damned Whores and God’s Police by Anne Summers more relevant to my situation.

Available for Purchase: Amazon | Audible | Book Despository | Kobo Books
Image Description: a button image displaying text that reads RMFAO 2017 Genre Challenge

Monthly Forecast: May 2017


Image Description: the image appears to the cluttered surface of a desk. There’s an old vintage style map and on top of the map is a pair of  black thick-rimmed glasses, three black and white photos and two journals. One journal is closed and one journal is open to a blank page with a pencil resting on top.

I take part in multiple Reading Challenges. Why? Mostly because I think I’m more capable than I really am and because I thought having extra structuring for my blog would help me keep to regular reading schedule and a regular posting schedule. My brain is not in a happy place now and I’m sure this post and my more recent posts show it. I’m sorry about that. I’ll attempt to improve but at this point, I’m seriously contemplating shutting down my blog for a while, because a Book-Blog without book reviews isn’t justifiable.

RMFAO Genre Challenge: May – Classic and/or Literary
The monthly theme for the RMFAO Genre Challenge is Classic or Literary. The definitions of a “Classic” or “Literary” book are as follows:

Classics: A classic stands the test of time. The work is usually considered to be a representation of the period in which it was written; and the work merits lasting recognition. In other words, if the book was published in the recent past, the work is not a classic.
A classic has a certain universal appeal. Great works of literature touch us to our very core beings–partly because they integrate themes that are understood by readers from a wide range of backgrounds and levels of experience. Themes of love, hate, death, life, and faith touch upon some of our most basic emotional responses.

Literary Fiction: Literary fiction is a term that has come into common usage in the early 1960s. The term is principally used to distinguish “serious fiction” which is a work that claims to hold literary merit, in comparison from genre fiction and popular fiction. The name literature is sometimes used for this genre, although it can also refer to a broader category of writing.

So I decided I would read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Why? Well mostly because I lack subtlety, the world is going to hell in a hand-basket, strap yourselves in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Besides, I’ve meant to read these two books for a while and I figured now was an appropriate time. Here’s links to the books if you’re interested in reading along (or not, it’s cool, you do you).


Amazon
| Book Depository | Kobo Books

Image Description: The Peguin Classics book-cover of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It features an angry looking brunette-haired woman wearing a black vintage-style dress with a white collar and white cuffs, she is cradling to her chest a brunette-curly-haired infant in white swaddling clothes and/or a white sheet.
Amazon
| Book Depository | Kobo Books

Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017:
Another reading challenge with a monthly theme and the theme for May is Religious Diversity. I probably won’t get around to reading these, but if I could make a couple of recommendations, they would probably be And I Darken by Kiersten White and If You Could be Mine by Sara Farizan. Here’s links to the books if you’re interested in participating in the Diverse Books Reading Challenge:

And I Darken by Kiersten White | Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

If You Could be Mine by Sara Farizan | Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Book Haul:
I bought some books in April and March (too many books to be honest, really need to curb my impulse shopping habit) and, as it’s my birthday in April, I was also given some books as well. It’s a long list, so I won’t include book-cover pictures, but I will divide the books up into formats.

Audio-book Format:
On The Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis | Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

I have been trying to read Otherbound and On The Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis for a while now, I have both books as Ebooks already, but since I’ve entered into a reading slump, it’s been difficult for me to read Ebooks and Paperbacks alike, however, I’ve had some success with Audio-books in the past, so I figured I’d give this one a go.

The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer | Amazon

I was surprised and happy to find an audio-version of The Dark Wife available from Audible, as I’ve tried to find a physical copy of this book for ages, I can only find a Kindle version for it and as I’m not a big fan of Amazon Kindle, I decided I’d go with the Audio-book format first and check out the Kindle version later.

Ebook Format:
The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank | Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

I’m certain I read this when I was in primary school, but I can’t remember for certain, oh well, I’ll just have to try to read it again.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi | Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews about this book, so I figured I’d suss it out for myself, especially since it’s a Diverse Book.

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey | Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Apparently, Jasper Jones is an award-winning novel by an Australian author, I’ve never heard of this book before I saw an episode of The Weekly with Charlie Pickering interviewing Hugo Weaving about the movie-adaptation (he stars in the movie) and they talked about small community scapegoating practises. They made the book sound interesting enough to check out.

The Things I Didn’t Say by Kylie Fornasier | Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

The Things I Didn’t Say is a book about selective mutism and it’s written by an Australian author, so I was very intrigued, I think it’s a mystery as well, so it ticked all the boxes for me.

Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler | Amazon | Kobo Books

I purchased this book for the Diverse Books Reading Challenge as it has an openly Pansexual Main Character and, thus far, the book has been interesting. Apparently, this is Book 3 in the Radleigh University series, but you don’t need to read the other two books for this one to make sense. The characters do a fair amount of “Explaining stuff that has happened in previous books”, for me this is usually an annoyance but the author has handled it better then most.

The Room Mate by Kendall Ryan | Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

The Play Mate by Kendall Ryan | Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

The House Mate by Kendall Ryan | Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Kobo Books were doing a “Kendall Ryan’s books are super cheap right now” special, so I ended up buying three books in her Roommates series. Yes, I am aware these books look a little trashy, oh well.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher | Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

As it turns out, I’m a big fan of Carrie Fisher’s memoirs, so I waited until this one came down in price before I bought it (even though I was itching to get it as soon as possible).

Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire | Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Everyone in the Book Blogging and Book Vlogging Community has been gushing over this book, so I decided to check it out, the premise is interesting, the cover looks nice and it’s only 155 pages long (in Ebook format anyway), so I figured I’d see what all the fuss was about (yes, I occasionally read things because of Book-Blogger Peer Pressure, I have never proclaimed to be without flaws or weaknesses).

Paperback Format:
The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride | Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

My partner bought this for me as a Birthday Present. I’ve never heard of this author before, although I’ve heard of her earlier book A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, however, I suspect that my partner bought this novel because of a Burn Notice inside-joke.

So that’s it, I’ll try to post more regularly (but I doubt it will happen), let me know in the comment section if you’ve read any of the books mentioned and what you thought about them.

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