The Scarlet Letter has been considered by many critics as one of the books that established the modern tradition of American literature. Set in Puritan Boston during the years 1642 – 1649 and telling the story of a woman charged with witchcraft, this is a perfect Halloween reading.
Hawthorne wants to underline, through the protagonist Hester Prynne, how dangerous and mean people’s judgment can be, especially in the famous 17th century Witch Trials period. The book is very interesting because it explains historically what happened during that period, mixing information with a very powerful story.
Hawthorne began writing The Scarlet Letter in September 1849, after his mother’s death. The author was born in Salem.
The book is divided into two parts, in my opinion one very different from the other. Only at the end of the book you manage to find out the real meaning of the first part, named “The Custom House”.
Hester is different from all other characters in the novel, because she chooses not to conform to the Puritans strict rules and beliefs, and for that, she will be isolated by the Puritan society, both physically and spiritually.
The Scarlet Letter is a perfect picture of the society, very realistic. Many important themes are analyzed by the author, like the importance of freedom, faith and how the man can change his destiny if he wants.
I think Hawthorne wants to identify Hester with the change of the American society, the hope of a better way of facing life and situations, remembering to not commit the same mistakes of the past.