Thursday, May 26, 2011

Book Review: Scarlet Letter by by Nathaniel Hawthorne

I began reading books by email a few months ago.  One of them is Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  What a wonderful story!!

I am so glad I finally read Scarlet Letter.  Hawthorne portrays Hester as a woman who is strong, faithful and true.  When a moment of indiscretion is made public by the birth of her daughter, Pearl, she is sentenced, first to the pillory and then, to wear the letter A on her chest.  Even in her shame and sorrow she remains remains strong and penitent.  While she could have just sewn on a little A on her dress, she chose to embroider an extravagant A which she wore every day even after it was no longer required by the law.

I found myself really believing the characters even when I felt some of them were less than likable.  I though Hester's long-lost husband was an evil person who played with the minds and emotions of Hester and the minister.  I thought the minister was weak and shameful.  He could have saved Hester by admitting he was Pearl's father or, better yet, marrying Hester.  Instead he let her live in shame and sorrow for many years, never admitting his part. 

It is nice to read a classic novel where the woman is the strong character.  Good for you, Hester!!

I wasn't sure what the last words of the novel meant so I looked it up online:  The last words of the novel—ON A FIELD, SABLE, THE LETTER A GULES—describe a coat of arms on a shield. The sable field is a black background; gules means red. Thus on this shield, the coat of arms is a red letter (letter gules) appearing against a black background (sable field).