Fascinated by colonial New England, shaped in part by his ancestors, Nathaniel Hawthorne recreated that world in his masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter. A novel that has inspired generations of American authors and regularly appears on required reading lists, The Scarlet Letter presents the story of a young woman who has violated the rules of her culture and suffers public exposure for her act. Men linked to her by love or law conceal their identities and motives through secrecy and silence. Together their lives unfold in seventeenth-century Massachusetts as Hawthorne envisioned it, exploring human experiences both particular to that historical moment and timeless. Hawthorne touches on the expectations of Puritan settlers and on the things they feared, including wilderness and the presence of Native Americans, witchcraft, and dissenting voices within their own community. Drawing on the perspective of a social and literary historian, Pennell offers annotations and supporting essays that explain these aspects of the novel's colonial world and that put characters, events, and allusions into their historical contexts, providing readers with greater understanding of a time that may seem far removed from our own but that remains a part of our cultural identity.
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- Cover page
- Halftitle page
- Series page
- Title page
- Copyright page
- Series Foreword
- CHAPTER 1 Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Burden of the Past and the Promise of His Own Era
- CHAPTER 2 Hawthorne, the Historical Romance, and Seventeenth-Century New England
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne with Annotations by Melissa McFarland Pennell
- The Custom-House. Introductory to "The Scarlet Letter."
- I. The Prison-Door.
- II. The Market-Place.
- III. The Recognition.
- IV. The Interview.
- V. Hester at Her Needle.
- VI. Pearl.
- VII. The Governor's Hall.
- VIII. The Elf-Child and the Minister.
- IX. The Leech.
- X. The Leech and His Patient.
- XI. The Interior of a Heart.
- XII. The Minister's Vigil.
- XIII. Another View of Hester
- XIV. Hester and the Physician.
- XV. Hester and Pearl.
- XVI. A Forest Walk.
- XVII. The Pastor and His Parishioner
- XVIII. A Flood of Sunshine.
- XIX. The Child at the Brook-Side.
- XX. The Minister in a Maze.
- XXI. The New England Holiday
- XXII. The Procession
- XXIII. The Revelation of the Scarlet Letter
- XXIV. Conclusion.
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