In CliffsNotes on Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, you explore life in 17th-century Massachusetts as you follow the ordeal of Hester Prynne, who has been found guilty of adultery and sentenced to wear a scarlet letter A on her dress as a sign of shame. The Scarlet Letter is considered to be Hawthorne's finest work, depicting a world where the real meets the unreal, the actual meets the imaginary — in a classic story that is difficult to forget.
This study guide carefully walks you through every step of Hester's journey by providing summaries and critical analyses of each chapter of the novel. You'll also explore the life and background of the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and gain insight into how he came to write The Scarlet Letter. Other features that help you study include
- Character analyses of major players
- A character map that graphically illustrates the relationships among the characters
- Critical essays on the novel's setting and structure, symbolism, and classification as a gothic romance
- A review section that tests your knowledge
- A Resource Center full of books, articles, films, and Internet sites
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