The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is the tale of Hester Prynne, a woman in the 1600s
who is accused of cheating on her husband, who has been missing for years. After the birth of
her child Pearl, Hester is branded with the Scarlet Letter to remind her and her fellow
townspeople of her misdeed. Hester refuses to reveal her lover’s identity, and throughout the
novel has to face the shame of committing adultery, a major sin.
This novel is a tough read, and Hawthorne’s writing style is divisive. I found the novel hard to read, but not unbearably dull. However, depending on when and how you read the book, opinions will vary. Many who read it in high school disliked the stiff writing and large amount of symbolism and themes. If this book
isn’t required to be studied in depth, it can be enjoyed by older readers for its themes of
feminism and revenge.