The Scarlet Letter

Currently in class we’re reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

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We just got started with the book so I don’t know much yet, but I’m looking forward to reading it. For the most part, I do know that the scarlet letter is “A” and stands for adulterer. In fact, this book is the reason why my mother doesn’t let me wear clothing with the letter “A” on it (something that I am quite fond of), so you could say this title and I did not quite start off on the right foot. My name is Amelia, so of course I enjoy showing off that my name starts with the first letter of the alphabet (a silly thought of mine). However, Hester Prynne seems to agree with showing off the letter, too. For example, “that SCARLET LETTER, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing her in a sphere by herself.”
And also, “On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold-thread, appeared the letter A. It was so artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy, that it had all the effect of a last and fitting decoration to the apparel which she wore; and which was of a splendor in accordance with the taste of the age, but greatly beyond what was allowed by the sumptuary regulations of the colony.”

Although the letter is a mark of shame, she almost makes the best out of it by using her skillful needlework to turn the cursed letter into an ornament for her clothes (at least that’s how the bystanders seem to see it). This gave me an impression that Hester was an interesting and dynamic character that I wouldn’t mind remembering, but later chapters really lets the shame sink in, directing my thoughts astray. Nonetheless, her strong desire to not reveal the father of the child are keeping me interested and hope this book is one that I will enjoy reading. What better way to enjoy English class than to have an engaging book we’re required to read?

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It All Started Freshmen Year

…when my hatred for summer homework began.

Before even officially entering high school, the school decided to throw at it’s incoming English Honor 1 students an “experimental” summer assignment. We were required to read and take notes on three novels: The Pearl, Anthem, and the dreadful Great Expectations. Although these were rather fantastic literary books, the idea of doing this work over summer break made it well…not so fantastic.

The year after that, the incoming English Honors 2 students had yet another assignment to do over their precious break. Thankfully, it was Mythology, a subject I was actually fascinated with and found very interesting. However, we also had to prepare for essays to be written on the book in the beginning of the school year. Not much fun anymore, but definitely was tolerable.

Then came the summer of 2013, where incoming AP English 3 students were required to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (and a few essays on the side). Luckily, we only had to read and be ready to discuss when we came back.

In my opinion, this summer assignment was one of the more enjoyable ones. Huck Finn was one of the more interesting books I’ve read and humorous (though the comedy was out-dated to me). The use of colloquial diction made it realistic in a sense and the adventures of our hero Huck were unusually entertaining. His realist personality compared to his imaginative pal Tom made the two a team that you wouldn’t want to be personally involved with, but would like to witness from afar. In addition, the relationship that grew between Huck and the runaway slave Jim was amusing to follow, such as Huck’s debate on whether it was really right or wrong to help this escaped “property.”

All in all, this novel is one that I actually didn’t mind reading as a summer assignment, and one that I would recommend to others. However, something to look out for is that reading the diction may be difficult at times and the novel was written (considering the era) is, of course, different from the modern novels we read now.

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