The Scarlet Letter
Publication Date: April 2008
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Hailed by Henry James as the finest piece of imaginative writing yet put forth in the country, Nathaniel Hawthorne sThe Scarlet Letterreaches to our nation s historical and moral roots for the material of great tragedy. Set in an early New England colony, the novel shows the terrible impact of a single passionate act on the lives of three people: the fiery, tortured Reverend Dimmesdale; the obsessed, vengeful Chillingworth; and the defiant Hester Prynne, who, unwilling to name her partner in adultery, is condemned to wear a scarlet A on the breast of her gown for the remainder of her life. She and her illegitimate daughter become outcasts, forced to live solitary lives until Hester s estranged husband arrives and stirs up trouble.
WithThe Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne became the first American novelist to forge from our Puritan heritage a universal classic a masterful exploration of humanity s unending struggle with sin, guilt, and pride. "