The Scarlet Letter Book Reviews

Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Book Summary

An Apple Books Classic edition.

Hester Prynne lives in infamy. After committing adultery and bearing a child with a man whose name she refuses to divulge, the heroine of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel is forced to wear a scarlet A to mark her shame for all to see.

Hawthorne’s American classic reflects the Puritan mindset of Boston in the 1600s, where public humiliation was acceptable punishment for a woman who bucked the norms. Never mind that Hester’s husband was widely believed to have died at sea and that Hester and her daughter are living a quiet life of good deeds in their little cottage outside town. Someone wants revenge-and will stop at nothing to get it.

The Scarlet Letter incorporates supernatural elements with historical fiction. It’s a dark tale of sin and redemption with an unforgettable heroine whose story continues to fascinate readers and inspire film adaptations.

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Book Name The Scarlet Letter
Genre Classics
Language English
E-Book Size 328.86 KB

The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne) Book Reviews 2023

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In your face symbolism. There's a reason schools use this book so much. Its symbolism is so in your face it almost hurts. The story really isn't very good.

An enormous disappointment. The only things that seem to have kept this book from entirely fading into obscurity are Hawthorne’s commentaries on the roles of women and religious fundamentalism. I am usually enraptured by the heavily descriptive prose of romantic era literature, but this novel seems to think that its readers have a collective IQ of 10; needlessly pounding the same symbols and analogies into their skulls. It brushes over any content with the slightest potential to be entertaining (Hester’s experiences in helping the less fortunate and living in relative solitude are only described; we don’t get any specific examples of them) in favor of droning on and on about concepts that it has already presented, such as the dynamic between Chillingworth and Dimmesdale. I wish I could give this book a star and a half. It does not deserve two.

2 out of 5 stars.. I read this book a few months ago. It was hard to understand and read. It was wordy, long, and complicated. I wouldn’t recommend this book. The story overall is good but the words and the long sentences often made it seem off topic. I tried reading it and by far it’s one of the first books I had trouble reading. I basically forced myself to read it and it wasn’t fun. 2/5 stars before it had a great storyline just the way it was written was very complicated.

Bland. Overall the message of the story was good, but I feel the author talked way to much about other topics

Good book, if you can get past the old english. It’s a classic for sure. It’s just difficult to concentrate with the dated language.

Before you read this, don’t.. I had to read this book for my advanced English class and I can honestly say it is the worst book I have ever read. The archaic writing style and the confusing sentence structure made it very difficult to comprehend. The vocabulary used and the way Hawthorne incorporated symbolism into almost all aspects of the book detracted from the main idea. Would not recommend.

Brilliant and just spectacular. The author’s descriptive details were so authentic that you would almost believe what it says in the book.

Read this for AP Literature. Absolutely amazing. If you are a reader, you have to read this. Beautiful work & absolutely enlightening in terms of the nature of unavoidable human sin/penance/penitence.

It’s SO HARD to me.. I don’t need say “said he”. But, now okay.

Kill me please. The title explains it all

Good reading. I can see why this is considered a classic book, and also understand the dislike esa if some people, this is not a romantic story as some may put it, there are some parts were you get tired of reading, but out of all is a good reading for a weekend. If you want to enjoy it more put your perspective as a person from that time period.

Scarlet Letter. This is one of the worst books I read because it was very wordy and it used unfamiliar and large words when shorter words and phrases would have worked. Also, the author did not know how to use paragraphs. Many paragraphs were very large. It was hard to understand the author as a result. I would not recommend this book to anyone.

it's stained from my tears. i had to read this in high school and it was the worst book i've ever read. no i don't care what real literature is. three-year-olds don't have that extensive of a vocabulary, even if they are puritan, mr hawthorne. bye

Better than I thought!. This book was assigned from my AP English class, so I thought it going to be really boring like the usual AP book, but this novel had a great plot and I loved Hester and Pearl. There were some parts that were slow and a little hard to read, but overall this book is timeless and I really enjoyed it.

Good book. That was good.

Good. It’s relative to the world back then but it still does have an affect today, but just not as powerful as back then.

The Scarlet Letter. How dare I write a review of so deep a sharing of Nathaniel Hawthorne"s pen but that any chance reader of this ponderous novel that would traverse its primal thickets and harrow through its fields should take it to heart.

Ugh.. A book isn’t good just because reading it made you feel smart. I had to read this for school, and it did indeed make me feel smart as most of my classmates didn’t even try to read it and opted to use SparkNotes instead, but I was still annoyed the whole way through with the writing style. Every little thing was over-explained. Instead of focusing on moving the story along, or even going into detail about things relevant to it, Hawthorne would analyze a little, irrelevant detail, going on a pages-long tangent about it. I understand that some find this fascinating, but for me it was tedious and unnecessary. It seemed like the only point of it was for Hawthorne to flex his vocabulary and for the reader to flex their elitism for having stayed awake through it. Also, what was with Pearl’s character? Despite Hawthorne’s frequent reminders that she was a little girl, I felt like I was reading about a very stubborn old man whenever she did anything. This was a very strange feeling. Overall, I’m glad I’ve finished it and can say I’ve read it. However, whenever I see or hear about it, I will feel nothing but annoyance and loathing.

Dear Haters. this book is so friggin gay

The Scarlet Letter was bad.. It did not catch my interest in the slightest. It was awful. I would never read it again even if you paid me.

Hawthorne is a literary genius. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses foreshadowing, symbolism, and his vast vocabulary to portray his novel. His ability to create an atmosphere for the reader is unmatched. The story is very emotion-based; Hawthorne allows the reader to share the guilt and remorse with the many characters. It is a classic and will continue to live on through the years.

Amazing!. To an old man who was never forced to read this in his youth, The Scarlet Letter is revealed as an absolute masterpiece. Incredibly rich language is mixed with a twisted tale and a moral both poignant and modern. Hardly a tale of Puritan ascendance but instead one of love, sorrow and redemption. Fantastic!

A book about Hypocrisy.. Interesting characters, deep plot, intriguing story.

A Moving and Relatable Story. I was supposed to read this book in high school but didn’t pay much attention and couldn’t understand its moral relevance at the time. Almost thirty years later I took it up again and I understand it better. If I’d been able to internalize these lessons back in school, I might be in a better place. Certainly well written and engaging. Vivid depictions of Main characters’ lives and settings help transport me to their place. I rooted for some or hoped for the defeat of others throughout. There were even times I held my breath in anticipation of a tragic event. Between reading sessions, I wondered what I would do in their situations and in what ways I have lived or perhaps am living their stories today. Highly recommend this book.

The Scarlet Letter is outdated. The Scarlet Letter is the most outdated book to read in the school. Do not use this as a book to read for your students; as they will hate it and tell others how bad it is. Read this if you enjoy reading centuries old literature.

The crazy people. A very good book. A very good movie with Demi Moore in it.

no. ratch

Gay. Why does this exist?

Fabulous literature. This book stands the test of time as great literature. I highly recommend it!

👎. Boo

Never read it in school. I can’t remember but I think that I was supposed to of read this in school. Never did. As an adult it piqued my curiosity. It was difficult getting started because the old English and the florid language with complex sentences (multiple commas) we’re difficult to comprehend. however, after a while I got the groove and could comprehend it pretty well. It was a riveting story. Loved it.

I just can’t. I’m not sure if this is just my attention span, but I just kind of opened the book and just couldn’t. If you’re me, I would recommend Sherlock Holmes (It’s also free).

The Scarlett Letter. 10/10 would not recommend.

Class reading. I had to read it for class, and I was being lazy so I figured I’d just get it on my phone. Turned out decent, though I would’ve enjoyed it more if we could shorten down on the commas. You don’t need five per a sentence. Anyways, all in all a perfectly enjoyable book. A jord

A little tedious but worthwhile for literature examination. This book is tedious to get through and I would not pick it up for a casual read but it earns its literary merit and is worth examining for that

I hate this dumb book. I bought this book thinking "hey, I could use a god read on the crapper". So I bought it. As soon as I opened this book poop could not stop flying out my crack.

The Scarlet Letter. This book has a lot of symbolism, as another review said, but that does not bother much. Overall, this book is based on older America and it has old English, so it may be harder to understand the book. This part is not about the book, but about most of the other reviews here. Some people say it's bad with one star. They never seem to say WHY it is "bad".

welp. maybe if I knew what I was reading this would've been good maybe????

Wow. Great book but i hate Pearl

The Scarlet Letter. So sad a story.

Give it a chance. Even though there are so many negative reviews this is one of my favorite classics

Intriguing yet.... Ok, the plot was interesting- and the farther away I get from when I read the book the more interesting the concept becomes but honestly it might have been the worst book I’ve ever read- then again I’ve been fairly picky about my reads up until this book and I read it only because I skipped a grade in LA and felt I was missing an important aspect of Highschool literature, but something about it felt very off.. like it wasn’t bad per say, but for some reason it just didn’t stick in my mind as interesting when I was reading it, I felt reluctant to turn the page and continue on with my venture into Hawthornes creation- Guys if you want literature on something very similar to Puritan control oppressing women I think Atwood’s the handmaids tale is far better written, although I just like things written by Atwood so I may be biased. Although then again this is free, so go for it, live your dream of saying “haha pleb, I’ve read the scarlet letter, haven’t you?!?..; why, it’s absolutely exquisite” twists fancy mustache, leans on cane. Lol, I’m just joking, though I would say that the concept is worth the read so do go for it, because this is similar to what women had to deal with back then and history is very important to understand the present and what it will lead to, so fly my birdies, spread your wings and fly

Extremely boring do not read!. If u have a decent life don't read

Amazing. I loved it! Read it for English class and was not expecting it to be good. It has a good plot line and I love the purpose of the book. 10/10 would recommend.

One of the best pieces of classic American literature.. The Scarlet Letter is one of my favorite pieces of classic literature. Hawthorne is not the easiest read, but the book is beautifully written. I read it the first time some years ago as a junior in high school as part of the required reading for my English class, but I fully enjoyed the book and quickly understood why it’s considered a seminal work in American literature. Some of the other reviewers seem to be disappointed by the novel, so perhaps it’s worthwhile to explain what it is not: this is not an action-packed thriller, nor is it a cheesy romance novel for middle-aged women on their second divorce. In fact, nothing about this novel could be considered “light reading.” At the same time, however, this book is not, as some reviewers have suggested, merely a criticism of Puritans, who were many generations removed from its writing. Rather, it’s a very moving tale about hypocrisy, redemption, forgiveness, and honesty; a story of a young woman who thrives in spite of a punishment not commensurate with her crime and a priest who languishes in private as he reflects on his own hidden sins. So, take a few evenings to read this book. Its message is as relevant today in 2020 as it was in 1850.

A Good ORIGINAL Classic. Love this Book. Recommend for all ages 10 or older.

The Scarlet Letter. It's lit.

Not what I expected. It took me a while to get use to the way it was written and what the book is actually about. I found it to be very deep and poetic. It’s not so much a book of action but more about the situation as a whole. I can’t say it was “exciting” but very much so a really good book to read.

Good. Good

Not amazing, but a good read. The writing style can get a bit convoluted, but I found the characters to be interesting and unique. Once you get used to the style, the story is interesting and not as frivolously descriptive as others of its era.

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The AudioBook is better!. I felt in light of recent events in the US; I thought that reading this book would be significant. After all, it has been on my TBR for a long time, so what better time. Honestly, there are so many more eloquent reviews that talk about the historical significance but for me, the puritan culture of 1642 to 1649 doesn't seem so removed. I was so sad for Hester and Pearl, a child who had no choice in her existence yet was treated with disdain. The language is old, and I'm so glad I read this with the audiobook as it helped a lot. There are a lot of books that I didn't understand, but it would have been a hazardous book to publish. It is essential to recognise the hypocrisy of religious institutions and for those institutions to accept the blame for the trauma inflicted by them.

The Scarlet Letter. A story that is able to find the soul and leave its own impression there.

Solace and inspiration. Any woman struggling through a tumultuous period should take the time to read this book. The heroine, Hester Prynne, provides solace and inspiration to any and all who are face with a burden to carry. I simply loved this book.

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Summary of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The The Scarlet Letter book written by Nathaniel Hawthorne was published on 30 December 1850, Monday in the Classics category. A total of 4,467 readers of the book gave the book 4 points out of 5.

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