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The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
By: (1804-1864)

The story begins in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts, then a Puritan settlement. A young woman, Hester Prynne, is led from the town prison with her infant daughter, Pearl, in her arms and the scarlet letter “A” on her breast. The scarlet letter “A” represents the act of adultery that she has committed; it is to be a symbol of her sin for all to see. She will not reveal her lover’s identity, however, and the scarlet letter, along with her public shaming, is her punishment for her sin and her secrecy.

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This etext was originally created at Dartmouth College, and has been modified several times since then.

THE SCARLET LETTER

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

EDITOR'S NOTE

Nathaniel Hawthorne was already a man of forty six, and a tale writer of some twenty four years' standing, when "The Scarlet Letter" appeared. He was born at Salem, Mass., on July 4th, 1804, son of a sea captain. He led there a shy and rather sombre life; of few artistic encouragements, yet not wholly uncongenial, his moody, intensely meditative temperament being considered. Its colours and shadows are marvelously reflected in his "Twice Told Tales" and other short stories, the product of his first literary period. Even his college days at Bowdoin did not quite break through his acquired and inherited reserve; but beneath it all, his faculty of divining men and women was exercised with almost uncanny prescience and subtlety. "The Scarlet Letter," which explains as much of this unique imaginative art, as is to be gathered from reading his highest single achievement, yet needs to be ranged with his other writings, early and late, to have its last effect... Continue reading book >>


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Reviews (Rated: 4 Stars - 10 reviews)

March 5, 2014
I could not understand the first 5 chapters at all. It is very hard to hear someone with such an extreme accent read older English text.
Reviewer: - February 27, 2014
Subject: Slow But Classic
The book is a slow one owing to the archaic language and long descriptive style, but does have very colorful characters and an interesting plot. I do wish there was more uniformity and quality to the readers, however, free is free.
Reviewer: - February 3, 2014
Subject: quality
Seriously, the first four chapters are awful as they are... Chapter 1-2 guy stumbles upon every word with more than 4 syllables, and the girl who reads chapters 3-4 has a so heavy accent, I can't understand a thing...
Reviewer: - October 28, 2013
Subject: English
First 5 chapters were not as interesting but also the speakers made me not really understand much.
Reviewer: - October 14, 2013
The accents are hard to understand, but otherwise this is great (:
Reviewer: - September 25, 2013
Subject: Puritanism and romance
It's true that the readers are not always easy to understand, but the text itself is so wonderful and the story really touching.
Reviewer: - July 14, 2013
Subject: Wonderful book
Great book, well worth the journey. Though I do agree with other reviews, unfortunately the reader of chapter 3 & 4, particularly chapter 3, is difficult to understand. I am grateful to everyone that volunteers their time, and personally love listening to different accents, but chapter 3 detracts a bit too much in being able to understand key words and sentences.
Reviewer: - May 14, 2013
The first four chapters are horrible they have put me off this book!!!
Reviewer: - May 5, 2013
Some of the readers have the worst accents, you can barely understand what they are saying at times
Reviewer: - April 16, 2013
Subject: Listen with patience
This is a great book, and several of the readers are especially strong, but several readers have thick accents, are very monotone, or are simply not talented readers. This book is a classic, and I think it deserves more professional treatment; however, this is a free audiobook and the readers are volunteers. Overall, not impressed with the quality of the audio, but the book speaks for itself. Still worth a listen if you can put up with it.


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