Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
The Defining Novel of American Literature, a must read if you are interested in the beginning of New England, and its values.
on 9 February 2017
As an English & American Literature student, I had to read this as it is considered one of the greatest defining novels of American literature. Not only in content, but also in narrative style:
- American was considered the 'New World', and as Emerson suggested, America had to stray away from the literary conventions of English Literature, and create its own; and the easiest way of creating something 'original' would be through nature. Hawthorne beautifully encapsulates the innocence, and mysteriousness of the wilderness through the settings within the novel, as well as through Pearl who is the natural, but illegitimate child of love and passion.
- Early on in this edition, Hawthorne points out that 'The Scarlet Letter' is a Romance rather than a novel. Therefore, it embodies elements of the medieval fairytale-like qualities, where the reader simply has to throw themselves into believing the supernatural or absurd.
-What makes this novel the "grand symbol" of American literature is its action/symbolism driven qualities; it is not simply a story of a few characters, but the story of New England, the harsh and brutal laws of Puritanism, the cruel judgement of society, the contrast of youth and decay, etc.