Nathaniel Hawthorne Is Quite Possibly The Worst American Author

Our assigned book for English is The Scarlet Letter. It’s a romantic fiction book, apparently. I see no romance, just revenge, deceit, and loads of symbolism. It would be a juicy story, had Hawthorne not spent his time writing multiple pages about a plot of grass. Only until I came upon page 115 could I remotely begin to pay attention to the story.

I find the assignments for the book difficult as well, party because there are so many ways to interpret a question and too many explanations to get down on paper without having to write a book myself. Anything in the book, anything at all, could symbolize an entire theme within the book. I might read The Scarlet Letter one hundred times and still come up with a different answer to a simple question.

What does the scarlet “A” represent? Well, adultery, duh. It also represents the shame Hester feels, the noticeability of her sin, the strict morals of the Puritans and, a dozen other things. A friend once nicknamed Hawthorne as “the writer from Hell”. Reading this book, that description seems spot on.

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2 thoughts on “Nathaniel Hawthorne Is Quite Possibly The Worst American Author

  1. Pingback: Wanted: English Major. Must have read The Catcher in the Rye and written a lengthy essay about Nathaniel Hawthorne. | English Major Malfunctions

  2. “I might read The Scarlet Letter one hundred times and still come up with a different answer to a simple question.” This is the beauty and the curse of any serious study of literature, and it can be both frustrating and liberating. Also, you will come to learn that “Romance Novels” don’t mean the same thing from a historic standpoint that they do by modern standards. Such stories often encompass the themes of revenge and deceit, and are loaded with symbolism. Hawthorne in particular is a huge fan of allegory, and I can completely understand your frustrations with his work. Also, as a grammar nazi, there is one more thing I would like to say: “possible” should be “possibly” in the title of this post.

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