Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Book 42-The Scarlet Letter (69th Book)
I wanted to love this book after being excited about the setting, but I didn't. It didn't hold and captivate my attention the way that I wanted it to. It did have some interesting points to say about good and evil and what makes a person strong.
The one thing I did like about the book was the description of the pastor who slept with the adulterous woman, Hester Prynne. He never told and his secret sin ate him alive. As the book progressed he got sicker and sicker eventually leading to his death. It shows how although the trial of wearing a Scarlet Letter was a hard one for Hester she was able to sleep at night knowing that people knew the worst thing about her and still interacted with her anyway. The words laid out in the book, which signify the principal underlying why one of these two characters thrives, while the other dies slowly is this, "Be true. Be true. Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred". There is freedom in being known by others and loved anyway. Pastor Dimmesdale was seen as a saint in the community, but deep down he knew himself to be flawed.
Puritan New England would be a frightening place to live.Everyone walked around with a feeling of superiority over other people, and yet they were all human. I liked a line in the story that shows that we are all flawed and that none of us would be safe in a legalistic community like the one described in the book. "if truth were everywhere to be shown, a scarlet letter would blaze forth on many a bosom".
This book was run of the mill for me, although I didn't hate the book, I wasn't fascinated with it as I hoped. It is great to see that it has become so iconic though, because the author sold very few copies in his life time.