Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) is the founder of American psychoanalytic fiction and the first writer of short stories in the history of American literature. He has been called the greatest American romantic novelist in the 19th century. Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts in the United States. His family believed in the Christian puritanism, and Hawthorne was influenced by puritanism. After graduating from Bowdoin college in 1825, Hawthorne returned to Salem, where he wrote and published dozens of stories and short stories. In 1839, Hawthorne worked in Boston customs for more than two years, and then entered the “brook farm”, where he was exposed to transcendentalism and got acquainted with Emerson and Thoreau, the representatives of transcendentalism.
Later, Hawthorne went to Salem’s customs office, where his work experience there has a direct impact on his writing “The Scarlet Letter”, which consolidated his solid position in the American literary world. Hawthorne was evaluated as a spectator of life, and his attitude to life determined his interest and insight into people’s inner and psychological activities. He was deeply influenced by the thought of original sin, and the original sin was passed down from generation to generation. His representative works include the novel “The Scarlet Letter”, “The House of the Seven Gables”, “The Blithedale Romance”, “Twice Told Tales”, and “Mosses from an Old House”. Among them, “The Scarlet Letter” has become the world literature classic where Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville and other literary masters are deeply influenced by it.
The works of Nathaniel Hawthorne are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.
I recently read the classic novel The Scarlet Letter. I really enjoyed the dramatic story of Hester Prynne and her daughter Pearl as they live in a strict Puritan society. Nathaniel Hawthorne was clever in his symbolic elements to highlight the importance of such things like the scarlet letter itself, her daughter Pearl, and Mr. Dimmesdale among others.
To give a brief description of the story: The novel opens with a woman named Hester Prynne being publicly scorned after her release from prison. The reader is informed that she was convicted of adultery and as punishment must wear a scarlett letter “A” sewn onto the breast of her dress. She is holding her daughter in her arms who we later find out is named Pearl. As the story progresses Hester and Pearl face challenges for being outcasts of their society. But Hester’s love for her daughter and her strength in character get them through along with the help of a sacrificial man (whose name I will not reveal because no spoilers!) The story ends dramatically but you will have to read to find out!
I loved how Hawthorne ended the book because he brought closure with a tiny cliff hanger that perfectly balance the other out. My favorite character is Arthur Dimmesdale-the adored priest of the town who saves Hester from having to give up her daughter. His charm and genuine heart carry off the pages and into the hearts of the readers. The dreary character of Robert Chillingworth gives an eerie vibe to the story when he sets out for revenge against his wife and her mysterious lover. The story and the characters come together in this Puritan society through love, revenge, and more, and it is definitely one of my favorite required reads so far.
All in all, this twisted love triangle story is a classic for a reason. I love the writing and though the vocabulary is tricky at parts, this book is definitely recommended by me!
– Kelsey H., 11th grade
The Scarlet Letter is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library and Overdrive.