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2020 Book Review: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Set in the 17th century this is an interesting tale. I’m a fan of reading history and historical pieces. This story, as far as I know, is purely fiction set at a time when being a good Puritan was important. Hester, the main character, is labeled with the letter ‘a’ for adultery to tell the those that come in contact with her she is a sinner and what ‘type of person she is’. She gives birth to a baby and refuses to explain who the father is. She could’ve easily lied many times to easy the prejudices and hatred she was facing saying that the father was her husband’s, but she didn’t. She didn’t bow to the pressure of the colony she lived within.

Many times throughout it I fully expected this to turn into a Satanic witch twist as that was commonplace of the period and wasn’t let down, there are characters referred to being associated with the devil or an associate of the devil, but it isn’t the main character.

I came into this book with a lot of judgement. I knew many had read it in high school, but I don’t remember ever being forced to. I can easily see this being one of those books for many where they have to eat it in smaller portions. It can even be considered ‘dry’ at moments. It’s well written and interesting, at least for me, when I got going.

I admit this isn’t a newer read for me, I read this book many years ago, but it left enough of an impression for me to want to review it now. I can see the parallels of the story to how people are treated even today when they’re judged by family and friends for being ‘sinful’, though the letter isn’t literary it’s still there, labels can hurt and in this story you can see the progress of such an event.

I felt for the main character on multiple occasions. There are hypocrites throughout the story, especially who turns out to be the father of the baby. This goes hand-in-hand with how people treat others and why they do what they do, it’s for selfish reasons. Poor Hester’s baby, it didn’t ask for any of this to happen.


This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.

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