The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist and short story writer. Much of Hawthorne's writing centers around New England, many works featuring moral allegories with a Puritan inspiration. His fiction works are considered part of the Romantic movement and, more specifically, dark romanticism. His themes often center on the inherent evil and sin of humanity, and his works often have moral messages and deep psychological complexity. His published works include novels, short stories, and a biography of his friend Franklin Pierce.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Novels • Fanshawe (published anonymously, 1828) • The Scarlet Letter (1850) • The House of the Seven Gables (1851) • The Blithedale Romance (1852) • The Marble Faun: Or, The Romance of Monte Beni (1860) (as Transformation: Or, The Romance of Monte Beni, UK publication, same year) • The Dolliver Romance (1863) (unfinished) • Septimius Felton; or, the Elixir of Life (Published in the Atlantic Monthly, 1872) • Doctor Grimshawe's Secret: A romance (unfinished), with Preface and Notes by Julian Hawthorne (1882)
Short story collections • Twice-Told Tales (1837) • Grandfather's Chair (1840) • Mosses from an Old Manse (1846) • The Snow-Image, and Other Twice-Told Tales (1852) • A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys (1852) • Tanglewood Tales (1853) • The Dolliver Romance and Other Pieces (1876) • The Great Stone Face and Other Tales of the White Mountains (1889) • The Celestial Railroad and Other Short Stories
The Scarlet Letter Ah, but let her cover the mark as she will, the pang of it will be always in her heart. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Chapter II "The Market-Place" A bodily disease, which we look upon as whole and entire within itself, may, after all, be but a symptom of some ailment in the spiritual part. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Chapter X "The Leech and His Patient"
The Scarlet Letter Some writers and popular tradition claim that the gravestone of Elizabeth Pain, a settler in colonial Boston, was the inspiration for the grave of character Hester Prynne in the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Plot summary This is a troubling story of crime, sin, guilt, punishment and expiation, set in the rigid moral climate of 17th century New England. The young mother of an illegitimate child confronts her Puritan judges. However, it is not so much her harsh sentence, but the cruelties of slowly exposed guilt as her lover is revealed, that hold the reader enthralled all the way to the book’s poignant climax.
Main characters Roger Chillingworth Hester Prynne Arthur Dimmesdale Pearl
Major themes Sin The experience of Hester and Dimmesdalerecalls the story of Adam and Eve because, in both cases, sin results in expulsion and suffering. But it also results in knowledge—specifically, in knowledge of what it means to be immortal. For Hester, the scarlet letter functions as "her passport into regions where other women dared not tread", leading her to "speculate" about her society and herself more "boldly" than anyone else in New England. Past and present The clashing of past and present is explored in various ways.
Symbols The Scarlet Letter The Meteor Pearl The Rosebush next to the Prison Door
Film adaptations based on the novel • The Scarlet Letter (1908 film), starring Gene Gauntier and Jack Conway • The Scarlet Letter (1911 film), starring Lucille Young and King Baggot • The Scarlet Letter (1913 film), (in color) starring Linda Arvidson and Murdock MacQuarrie • The Scarlet Letter (1917 film), starring Mary Martin and Stuart Holmes • The Scarlet Letter (1920 film), produced by Selznick Pictures Corporation • The Scarlet Letter (1922 film), a British version starring Sybil Thorndike and Tony Fraser • The Scarlet Letter (1926 film), starring Lillian Gish and Lars Hanson • The Scarlet Letter (1934 film), starring Colleen Moore and Hardie Albright • The Scarlet Letter (1973 film) (Der Scharlachrote Buchstabe), a German version starring Senta Berger and Hans Christian Blech • The Scarlet Letter (TV miniseries) (1979) starring Meg Foster, Kevin Conway, and John Heard • The Scarlet Letter (1995 film), starring Demi Moore, Gary Oldman, and Robert Duvall • Easy A (2010 film) (though not an exact adaptation, many aspects are similar and the original story is referenced)