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The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
By: (1804-1864)

A beautiful woman who is punished for the mortal sin of loving a man other than her husband, a cowardly lover, a vengeful husband, a rebellious illegitimate child and the oppressive and patriarchal morality of 17th century Puritanism in Boston. Together these form an unforgettable and thought-provoking glimpse of how much social attitudes have changed over the centuries.

Nathaniel Hawthorne was the creator of such beloved works as Twice-Told Tales, A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls, The House of the Seven Gables and spine-chilling tales like Roger Malvin's Burial. Scion of an old Puritan family from Salem, Massachusetts, Hawthorne was familiar with the old traditions of the area. He began writing in college and worked as a customs surveyor to earn his livelihood while pursuing his passion for creative writing. His friendship with Ralph Waldo Emerson broadened his horizons considerably and he experimented with movements like Transcendentalism.

The Scarlet Letter is a deeply disturbing novel about gender discrimination, women's oppression, male dominated society and authoritarian religions. Set in 17th century Boston, its lovely heroine Hester Prynne, is accused of adultery and giving birth to an illegitimate child in the absence of her husband. The punishment mandated for this crime is to be paraded and vilified in public with a scarlet letter A affixed to her chest, signifying “adulteress.” She refuses to name her partner in crime. The missing husband arrives fortuitously at that very moment, but does not reveal himself to Hester or the public. Intent on revenge, he devises an elaborate plot to destroy his wife and her nameless lover.

The book was an instantaneous hit when it was first published and touched a chord with readers all over the world, both men and women. It was the first book to be published on a mass scale in the United States. However, religious establishments were critical of the book's attempt to countermand the rules of the Church and promote immorality. Generations of readers have been struck by its compassion, depth and deep human concern.

The strong plot and memorable characters have rendered it uniquely suited to adaptations for stage, film, television and radio. The Scarlet Letter remains a masterpiece of wonderful story-telling, full of dramatic moments, secrets and mysteries and above all, for the modern reader, it's an excellent read!

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Reviews (Rated: 4 Stars - 20 reviews)

Reviewer: - May 30, 2018
Subject: History
in this story is proved of life strugle.
Reviewer: - March 3, 2017
Subject: Scarlet letter
I hate to sound ungrateful because it is great to have these books read for free so please do not take my review as ungrateful. But I had to stop before the first reader finised. Nothing against the book which was boring. The movie with Demi Moore was very good. I am sure the reader did his best and it is no fault of his we can't understand him. I have always understood the British being from NYC some of our words are pronounced the same such as, CAR, we both do not promounce the "R" So I guess it's not the reader but us, we are the ones who can't understand some words. I can only speak on the first reader.
Reviewer: - January 11, 2017
Subject: Chapter 19
I agree with the first 4 chapters. But Chapter 19 is bad as well.
Reviewer: - December 13, 2016
Subject: Scarlett letter review
I was really looking forward to this book, but I agree, it is very hard to listen to this book. The reader's accent is to hard to understand and keep my attention.
Reviewer: - April 20, 2016
Subject: Review scarlet letter
Hmmmmm.... This classic was very hard to listen to with every chapter being read by a different narrator. Also the book itself is actually boring. I'm sorry but I'm just being honest.
Reviewer: - April 7, 2016
Subject: The Scarlet Letter
Had to give up on this reading. Readers were very lacking, hard to understand, stumbled on words. Redo reading please I would really like to listen in the future.
Reviewer: - February 1, 2016
Subject: The Scarlet Letter
This was a wonderful, poetic book but terribly hard to understand many of the readers. After the first few chapters it got better but please please find some English speaking readers and re-do this.
Reviewer: - January 23, 2016
I thought the first 5 chapters are fine even with the readers accent even though i dont have one.
Reviewer: - March 5, 2014
I could not understand the first 5 chapters at all. It is very hard to hear someone with such an extreme accent read older English text.
Reviewer: - February 27, 2014
Subject: Slow But Classic
The book is a slow one owing to the archaic language and long descriptive style, but does have very colorful characters and an interesting plot. I do wish there was more uniformity and quality to the readers, however, free is free.
Reviewer: - February 3, 2014
Subject: quality
Seriously, the first four chapters are awful as they are... Chapter 1-2 guy stumbles upon every word with more than 4 syllables, and the girl who reads chapters 3-4 has a so heavy accent, I can't understand a thing...
Reviewer: - October 28, 2013
Subject: English
First 5 chapters were not as interesting but also the speakers made me not really understand much.
Reviewer: - October 14, 2013
The accents are hard to understand, but otherwise this is great (:
Reviewer: - September 25, 2013
Subject: Puritanism and romance
It's true that the readers are not always easy to understand, but the text itself is so wonderful and the story really touching.
Reviewer: - July 14, 2013
Subject: Wonderful book
Great book, well worth the journey. Though I do agree with other reviews, unfortunately the reader of chapter 3 & 4, particularly chapter 3, is difficult to understand. I am grateful to everyone that volunteers their time, and personally love listening to different accents, but chapter 3 detracts a bit too much in being able to understand key words and sentences.
Reviewer: - May 14, 2013
The first four chapters are horrible they have put me off this book!!!
Reviewer: - May 5, 2013
Some of the readers have the worst accents, you can barely understand what they are saying at times
Reviewer: - April 16, 2013
Subject: Listen with patience
This is a great book, and several of the readers are especially strong, but several readers have thick accents, are very monotone, or are simply not talented readers. This book is a classic, and I think it deserves more professional treatment; however, this is a free audiobook and the readers are volunteers. Overall, not impressed with the quality of the audio, but the book speaks for itself. Still worth a listen if you can put up with it.
Reviewer: - February 5, 2013
This book is great!
Reviewer: - January 12, 2013
Subject: Audio Quality
Be ware the narration is difficult to understand at the beginning of this book. We don't have an alternate recording at this time but we will update this page when one becomes available.

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