The scarlet letter a romance is a work of historical fiction by american author nathaniel hawthorne published in 1850 set in puritan massachusetts bay colony during the years 1642 to 1649 the novel tells the story of hester prynne who conceives a daughter through an affair and then struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignitythe book explores themes of legalism sin and guilt. The scarlet letter this is a study guide for the book the scarlet letter is an 1850 romantic work of fiction in a historical setting written by nathaniel hawthorne it is considered to be his magnum opus. The scarlet letter was an immediate success for a number of reasons first and foremost the united states was still a relatively new society less than one hundred years old at the time of the novels publication indeed still tied to britain in its cultural formation hawthornes novel offered . The scarlet letter 7 of 394 authors indeed do far more than this and indulge themselves in such confidential depths of revelation as could fittingly be addressed only and exclusively to the one heart and mind of perfect sympathy as if the printed book thrown at large on the wide world were certain to. Plot overview the scarlet letter opens with a long preamble about how the book came to be written the nameless narrator was the surveyor of the customhouse in salem massachusetts in the customhouses attic he discovered a number of documents among them a manuscript that was bundled with a scarlet gold embroidered patch of cloth in the shape of an a
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