Winter Will Be Here Soon -- Study hard as finals approach...


 
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The Scarlet Letter

 

Adultery, betrayal, promiscuity, subterfuge, and 
intrigue, all of which would make an excellent coming 
attraction on the Hollywood scene and probably a pretty good 
book. Add Puritan ideals and writing styles, making it 
long, drawn out, tedious, wearisome, sleep inducing, 
insipidly asinine, and the end result is The Scarlet Letter. 
 Despite all these things it is considered a classic and was 
a statement of the era.
 The Scarlet Letter is a wonderful and not so 
traditional example of the good versus evil theme. What 
makes this a unique instance of good versus evil is that 
either side could be considered either one. Hester could 
very easily have been deduced as evil, or the "bad guy," as 
she was by the townspeople. That is, she was convicted of 
adultery, a horrible sin of the time, but maybe not even 
seen as criminal today. As for punishment, a sentence to 
wear a scarlet "A" upon her chest, it would hardly be 
considered a burden or extreme sentence in present day. Or 
Hester can be seen as rebelling against a society where she 
was forced into a loveless marriage and hence she would
be the "good guy," or girl, as the case may be. Also the 
townspeople, the magistrates, and Chillingworth, Hester's 
true husband, can be seen in both lights. Either they can 
be perceived as just upholding the law -she committed a 
crime, they enforce the law. On the other hand are they 
going to extreme measures such as wanting to take Pearl, 
Hester's daughter, away just because Hester has deviated 
from the norm, all to enforce an unjust law that does not 
even apply to this situation?
 Although the subjects of the novel do apply to 
important issues in history and could have had influences on 
the time period, they were not great. During the times and 
in the Puritan community this did not have a large affect on 
anything. Sure, they did not want anyone committing 
adultery, most were killed if convicted, but it was not 
something that upset their way of living in any permanent 
manner. To an individual or group who was battling
something backward in the Puritan society, as were many 
things, this would have been an inspirational book and 
possibly a revelation.
 In short, this book could have been exceptional; it 
had all the elements of a superb book. Unfortunately, 
Hawthorne found himself a rather large thesaurus and added a 
bunch of mindless prattle that mellowed out the high
points of the book and expanded on the low points. In many 
chapters all he manages to accomplish is to update the lives 
of characters, mostly with irrelevant drivel. Also by 
expanding on the symbolism of the scarlet letter umpteenth 
times he wears it out so that the reader wants nothing more 
to do with a dumb "A" on some woman's chest hundreds of 
years ago. Other than that, great book.
 



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