Book report: The Scarlet Letter
The story was writen by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850. It takes place in 17th-century
Boston, then a Puritan village. The story begins with a flashback, then the turth is gradually unfolded. At the beginning of the story a young woman, Hester Prynne, has been taken out from the village prison with a infant daughter in her arms and has been forced to demonstrate in front of villagers because of the love affair with “somebody”
during the period of waiting for her missing husband Roger Chillingworth , leading to the birth of the infant daughter. And on the breast of her gown was the apparent letter "A", for the punishment that She will not reveal her lover's identity. The Scarlet Letter "A" represents “adultery”, a symbol of her sin. In the crowd Hester recognizes her
miraculously survived husband Chillingworth. Chillingworth swears to find out the
adulterer, so he settles down in Boston, on the point of revenge. As a punishment, Hester and her daughter have to live in a small cottage on the outskirts of Boston. Several years later, Hester supports herself by working as a seamstress and benevolent deeds and peaceable humility have changed her impression on the scorn community. And her daughter Pearl is of a lively symbol of Hester's love and sin. Dimmesdale, actually her lover--“the adulterer”, however, frequently suffers from mysterious heart trouble,
seemingly caused by psychological torment. At the same time, Chillingworth keeps searching clues for years and suspects that there may be a connection between the minister's torments and Hester's submission. He begins to test Dimmesdale and finally he gets the answer. From then on,every minute he threats to reveal the truth. When Pearl is about seven years old,after Dimmesdale preaches his most eloquent sermon ever. Dimmesdale impulsively mounts the scaffold with his lover and his daughter, and confesses publicly, exposing the mark supposedly seared into the flesh of his chest. He falls dead just after Pearl kisses him.Then …many years later, Hester comes back to
Boston alone, still wearing the scarlet letter. As for Pearl, who was rumored to have married a European aristocrat and had a happy family of her own. Gradaully ,the villagers, especially the women, finally forgived Hester of her past “sin”. When Hester dies, she is
buried near that old and sunken grave. They share that gravestone which was carved with a letter "A", for both Hester and Dimmesdale.
After I have read this novel, I think Hester Prynne, the only respectable character of this novel, is very brave and a woman of flesh and blood. She committed adultery with her true lover ,Dimmesade, the cowardly man with a high position as a respectable minister in that village,under the situation of having no news of her elder husband, Roger Chillingworth ,actually a despicable and crazy lookers for two years. Under people’s
criticism and hatred, she accepts the punishment bravely. Prynne posesses inner strenth and self-respect and does not confirm to the hypocritical Puritan rules. She herself brings her daughter Pearl up. When confronted with Dimmesade’s coeardliness, she chooses to
protect him. Concerning her love for Dimmesade, Prynne always treats life with deep feeling and passion. It seems that Prynne is a tragic character in this novel, but actually she is the most satisfactory one. She has the most strong mind in this novel. When the time human nature was imprisoned by then religion, only Prynne is freeand she can roam around the universe. During that seven years, everybody has changed. Dimmesade who has a benevolence inherent quality is saved; Chillingworth who is bad guy finally gets his punishment which he ought to have. From the beginning to the end, Prynne becomes more and more strong. That’s to say,the most powerful weapon of human beings is not anything else but his inner thoughts and freedom of the soul.So the symbolic meaning of the scarlet letter “A” is actually, I think, “adnation(双生)”, a process of salvation for each
other. Because of Prynne’s love to Dimmesade,she can face the “sin” bravely; because of
Dimmesade’s love to Prynne, he can finally get rid of his cowardliness.