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Summary

One of the most important novels in classic literature, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter tackles the subject of adultery, with the notorious Hester Prynne at the forefront of the scandal in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In the beginning of the novel, Hester is serving time in prison for having a child out of wedlock and is forced to wear a scarlet A on her clothing at all times, so she cannot run from her sin no matter where she goes. Her husband has been away for around two years, and she refuses to name the father of her daughter, Pearl. The father is actually Reverend Dimmesdale, a timid man who keeps his secret from the community.

Hester's husband returns to the colony, where he finds out what has happened and makes it his personal goal to torment the father of Pearl. He discovers that it is Dimmesdale and tries to intimidate him. The pressure becomes too much for Dimmesdale, and after seven years of torture the reverend eventually admits what he has done and dies before a crowd of people. Not long after, Hester's husband also passes away, leaving Hester and her daughter enough money to escape the colony and finally have some peace. At the end, however, Hester decides to come back to the colony, and when she passes away, she is buried next to the reverend, with whom she had been in love.

Public Domain (P)2015 A.R.N. Publications

What listeners say about The Scarlet Letter

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Like listening to a computer talk

No pauses at all in this recording. All in the one monotone voice. Hard to pick up words. Go for a different version.

1 person found this helpful

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Revuew

Excellent narrator.
The book itself was very wordy. But was nevertheless enjoyable. A book of its time.

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  • Brittany Stephanie
  • 20-09-17

Quite the take on sexual immorality

The narrator did well. The story was quite an adventure. 10 out of 10 would read again.

8 people found this helpful

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  • J Bouvette
  • 22-12-16

Timeless

Wonderfully narrated. It is the message, wrapped in Hawthorne's succinctly insightful and luxurious Victorian prose, that lays bare the torture of ignominy and isolation imposed by the most misguided practice of religions, that seeks to either challenge the readers' unenlightened tribal instincts to at last bathe their collective conscience and live henceforth in the promise and hope of redemption or to rejoice in gratitude that we now live in a time where we may enjoy this option.

Hester's only option was to live defamed, ostracized by her peers or to escape. First mentally and then physically. Forgiveness was not to be a comfort afforded her by others but gained by her own daring thoughts.... to arrive at her own redemption.


12 people found this helpful

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  • Merr Boring
  • 20-06-20

Make sure you have time to REALLY listen.

It's a classic for a reason. I had never read this book amd I am glad my book club finally gave me a reason. I may have to go back and listen again, as it takes a fair amount of concentration to catch everything as they use old English. Not one to listen to while you are trying to do something like paying bills.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mary
  • 05-09-16

For the Narrator

Fantastic voices for the different characters. especially pearl. made me be able to imagine a little girl right at her mother's feet and begging her for something.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Amber Bowman
  • 23-01-17

Wonderfully narrated

I loved the story. The narrator brought it to life for me. I have attempted to read to book several times but had a hard time with the language--this was a much better alternative--very easy to understand.

9 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 02-12-16

lovely story and telling

A crime of adultery and such an excavation of the affected souls that Dostoevsky might have been inspired. The narrator's lovely voice burnishes the narration and brings to life the characters.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Fiona
  • 06-12-16

Interesting and Great For Literary Examination

The story is very wealthy in literary themes and would be fairly easy to write essays on. The Narrator is pleasant and portrays several voices very well. The story is interesting and also not too terribly long. My only distaste is Hawthorne's "try-hard" diction and excessive flowering in scene description.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-05-20

missing the introductory???

phenomenal book. but they're missing 20 pages of the book? the introductory is important to the story, it's not just about the author or publisher.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kim Hall
  • 14-04-20

Can’t get past the language.

I know that was the language of the time but I struggled with it. Overall I like the story and message.

1 person found this helpful

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  • paulac
  • 27-02-21

Classic never tires!

Been about 40 years since read the novel. In my pursuit of revisiting the classics the narration and story was more than I had remembered ! Wow! So many themes and Hawthornes eloquent language is poetry to the ears .