The Scarlet Letter: a Romance | Book Review

Develop your reading skills. Read the following text about "The Scarlet Letter" and do the comprehension questions

Scarlet Letter (Hester and Pearl)"The Scarlet Letter: A Romance" is a novel by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was published in 1850 and is set in Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony during the years 1642 to 1649.

The novel tells the story of Hester Prynne who conceives a daughter through an affair with a minister of a church, Arthur Dimmesdale. Her daughter Pearl was born more than nine months after Hester left her husband in England to come to America. Because of that, she was forced to wear the scarlet A for "adulterer." She then struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity.

The major theme of "The Scarlet Letter" is social stigmatizing. Hawthorne's depiction of Hester's public humiliation and Dimmesdale's private shame and fear of exposure reverse the Puritan's ethics upside down. While the community sees Hester as an immoral woman, her lover as a saint, and would have considered the husband as a betrayed victim, Hawthorne depicts Hester as a sensitive woman with a heart and emotions, her lover as a minister who is far from being a saint and who morally weak and unable to confess his hidden sin and Chillingworth as an evil husband.

"The Scarlet Letter" was one of the first mass-produced books in America. It was popular when first published and is considered a classic work today. It inspired numerous film, television, and stage adaptations. Critics have described it as a masterwork and novelist D. H. Lawrence called it a "perfect work of the American imagination".

Source: Wikipedia


  1. The story takes place in 1850.
    a. True
    b. False
  2. Hester's husband was in England when she had an affair with Arthur Dimmesdale.
    a. True.
    b. False.
  3. Hester's husband is depicted as a nice person. 
    a. True
    b. False

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