The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Element Value Value Standard
dc.title The Scarlet Letter
dc.creator Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864
dc.subject Puritans-Massachusetts-Fiction.; Women-Massachusetts-Fiction.; Adultery-Fiction. LCSH
dc.description First published in 1850, The Scarlet Letter is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s masterpiece and one of the greatest American novels. Its themes of sin, guilt, and redemption, woven through a story of adultery in the early days of the Massachusetts Colony, are revealed with remarkable psychological penetration and understanding of the human heart. Hester Prynne is the adulteress, forced by the Puritan community to wear a scarlet letter A on the breast of her gown. Arthur Dimmesdale, the minister and the secret father of her child, Pearl, struggles with the agony of conscience and his own weakness. Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s husband, revenges himself on Dimmesdale by calculating assaults on the frail mental state of the conscience-stricken cleric. The result is an American tragedy of stark power and emotional depth that has mesmerized critics and readers for nearly a century and a half.
dc.publisher Dover Publications
dc.contributor Nathaniel Hawthorne 1994-5-02 W3CDTF
dc.type Text DCMIType
dc.format Paperback book, 192 pages, 5.3 x 0.5 x 8.4 in.
dc.identifier ISBN-13: 978-0486280486 ISBN
dc.language en-US RFC4646
dc.relation The Scarlet Letter: A Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne; originally published by Ticknor, Reed & Fields, Boston: 1850
dc.coverage 1850-1994
dc.rights All rights reserved

The Scarlet Letter is about Hester Prynne, an adulteress, who is forced to wear a scarlet A on her clothing to identify her sin. Arthur Dimmesdale, the father of her child and the town minister, struggles with the guilt of not admitting to his wrongdoing. Also at play is Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s presumed dead husband, who seeks his revenge on both Hester and Arthur for their actions. The Scarlet Letter has often been challenged due to its “pornographic and obscene” content in addition to its “conflicts with community values” (“Banned Books That Shaped America”).

Banned Books That Shaped America. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2016, from