I picked up The Scarlet Letter because I joined the Reading to Know book club this year. Honestly, I was not thrilled with this month’s book. I read The Scarlet Letter years ago. In fact, it may have been the very first classic novel I read. I have a few vague memories from that first reading; overall, I was proud of my accomplishment in reading a classic, but I had not particularly enjoyed the read.
While I wasn’t thrilled with the choice in book, I was still interested in finding out what my impressions of this book are now. I am glad I gave this book another try.
I enjoyed the story this time around. The characters came to life more, perhaps because I am more accustomed to the older English this time around than I was the first time. My heart went out to Hester, a woman suffering greatly for her sin. It made me wonder what it would be like to suffer forever for one sin; Hester was never offered forgiveness. Living life through Hester’s shoes through the course of this book made me grateful for the forgiveness found in Christ.
Roger Chillingworth was a difficult character to relate to because of his committed search for Hester’s partner in crime. I understand he was betrayed by Hester, but again, the one person who should have been ready to help Hester and offer her forgiveness shunned her completely.
Finally, Reverend Dimmesdale procured both my empathy and my judgment. I felt bad for the guilt and inner punishment he suffered for all the years that Hester bore her public punishment. At the same time, I wanted him to stand up for what was right and accept the public scorn just as Hester did. When he let Hester suffer alone, I condemned him for his cowardly behavior.
With that said, the characters in this book were well developed. I enjoyed being able to see life through the eyes of so many different characters.