The Scarlet Letter — 2016 Reading Challenge

For the challenge of “A book at least 100 years older than you,” I had to find a book written prior to 1884.

After arguing with Siri over the fact that “Books written before 1884” did not mean give me all options for the Orwell’s 1984 (Yes, I did actually argue with my iPod’s voice activated functions… Siri eventually apologized… no joke…), I eventually got my search terms to a point where I found results.

I chose The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

I knew the very basis of the story, that the main character had to wear a scarlet letter because she had a child out of wedlock. Knew nothing else other than that.

The Scarlet Letter follows Hester Prynne, a young woman in a very strict Puritan community. Hester is accused by the community of committing adultery against a husband long absent (and presumed dead). Part of her punishment, then, is to wear a red letter “A” (for “Adultery”) on her dress for the rest of her life.

Hester refuses to name a man to share the guilt and so sets out to raise her daughter, named Pearl, alone. She is a tough woman, to withstand the treatment of those in the community without breaking completely, though it definitely takes its toll on her.

Pearl, who goes from infant to 7-year-old over the course of the book, reminded me of a few children I have known in my life, so at least she came across as realistic.

The Scarlet Letter gives a good insight to how guilt can weigh on a person, as both Hester and her lover suffer differently for their sin. Though the story itself was interesting in regards to the characters, the situation, and the customs of the time, on occasion the descriptions and expositions got a little long winded and I found myself with eyes glazing over.

My next category will be “A self-improvement book”. I’ve chosen The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, which my husband is also supposedly going to be reading.

What are you reading? Got any good recommendations for future reading?


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