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Publisher's Summary

It is 1642 in the Puritan town of Boston. Hester Prynne has been found guilty of adultery and has born an illegitimate child. In lieu of being put to death, she is condemned to wear the scarlet letter "A" on her dress as a reminder of her shameful act. Hester's husband had been lost at sea years earlier and was presumed dead, but now reappears in time to witness Hester's humiliation on the town scaffold. He becomes obsessed with finding the identity of the man who dishonored his wife. To do so, he assumes a false name, pretends to be a physician and forces Hester to keep his new identity secret. Meanwhile, Hester's lover, the beloved Reverend Dimmesdale, publicly pressures her to name the child's father, while secretly praying that she will not. Hester defiantly protects his identity and reputation, even when faced with losing Pearl, her daughter.
Hailed by Henry James as, "the finest piece of imaginative writing yet put forth in the country", Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is a masterful portrayal of humanity's continuing struggle with sin, guilt, and pride.
Studying Hawthorne? Don't miss the SparkNotes Guide for The Scarlet Letter.
(P)2002 Tantor Media, Inc. Originally published 1850.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Aaron Elliott on 05-26-07

Hasts and Thous

An amazing early American novel. I have never read before. I actually can't wait to read again. Stongly recommend. It was so good that I wanted to know someone who had just read it so we could talk about it! The reader was very good. Her voice was VERY versatile. The only drawback is with all "hasts and thous" you REALLY have to pay attention to every word...not a good "drivng" book.

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17 of 18 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Primrose on 03-26-11

A fine reading

Shelly Frasier does fine: clear diction and slow pace, which are appropriate for more challenging prose. But why so many complaints about Hawthorne's language? "Thees and thous"? He was writing in the 1840s, not the 1600s (the era of the fiction, which he emulates in his characters' speech), so it's not that far from our own era. Or is this nation now only capable of reading TV GUIDE listings for the next JERSEY SHORE?

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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