The Scarlet Letter, with eBookby Nathaniel Hawthorne, Shelly Frasier
It is 1642 in the Puritan town of Boston. Hester Prynne has been found guilty of adultery and has borne an illegitimate child. In lieu of being put to death, she is condemned to wear the scarlet letter A on her dress as a reminder of her shameful act. Hester's husband had been lost at sea years earlier and was presumed dead, but he reappears in time to witness
It is 1642 in the Puritan town of Boston. Hester Prynne has been found guilty of adultery and has borne an illegitimate child. In lieu of being put to death, she is condemned to wear the scarlet letter A on her dress as a reminder of her shameful act. Hester's husband had been lost at sea years earlier and was presumed dead, but he reappears in time to witness Hester's humiliation on the town scaffold. Upon discovering her deed, the vengeful husband becomes obsessed with finding the identity of the man who dishonored his wife. To do so he assumes a false name, pretends to be a physician, and forces Hester to keep his new identity secret. Meanwhile, Hester's lover, the beloved Reverend Dimmesdale, publicly pressures her to name the child's father while secretly praying that she will not. Hester defiantly protects his identity and reputation, even when faced with losing her daughter, Pearl. Hailed by Henry James as "the finest piece of imaginative writing yet put forth in the country," Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is a masterful portrayal of humanity's continuing struggle with sin, guilt, and pride.
- Tantor Media, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- MP3 - Unabridged CD
- Product dimensions:
- 5.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.60(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 - 18 Years
Read an Excerpt
Scarlet Letter, The
The Prison Door
A THRONG OF BEARDED MEN, IN SAD-COLORED GARMENTS and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods, and others bareheaded, was assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak and studded with iron spikes.
The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison. In accordance with this rule, it may safely be assumed that the forefathers of Boston had built the first prison house somewhere in the vicinity of Cornhill almost as seasonably as they marked out the first burial ground, on Isaac Johnson's lot and round about his grave, which subsequently became the nucleus of all the congregated sepulchres in the old churchyard of King's Chapel. Certain it is that,some fifteen or twenty years after the settlement of the town, the wooden jail was already marked with weather-stains and other indications of age which gave a yet darker aspect to its beetle-browed and gloomy front. The rust on the ponderous iron-work of its oaken door looked more antique than anything else in the New World. Like all that pertains to crime, it seemed never to have known a youthful era. Before this ugly edifice, and between it and the wheel-track of the street, was a grass plot, much overgrown with burdock, pigweed, apple peru, and such unsightly vegetation, which evidently found something congenial in the soil that had so early borne the black flower of civilized society, a prison. But on one side of the portal, and rooted almost at the threshold, was a wild rosebush, covered, in this month of June, with its delicate gems, which might be imagined to offer their fragrance and fragile beauty to the prisoner as he went in, and to the condemned criminal as he came forth to his doom, in token that the deep heart of Nature could pity and be kind to him.
This rosebush, by a strange chance, has been kept alive in history; but whether it had merely survived out of the stern old wilderness, so long after the fall of the gigantic pines and oaks that originally overshadowed itor whether, as there is fair authority for believing, it had sprung up under the footsteps of the sainted Ann Hutchinson, as she entered the prison doorwe shall not take upon us to determine. Finding it so directly on the threshold of our narrative, which is now about to issue from that inauspicious portal, we could hardly do otherwise than pluck one of its flowers, and present it to the reader. It may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom that may be found along the track, or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow.
All new material in this edition is copyright © 1989 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
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Meet the Author
In addition to narrating audiobooks, Shelly Frasier has appeared in many independent film and theater projects in Arizona and southern California, and she has developed character voices for animation projects and done voice-over work for commercials.
- Date of Birth:
- July 4, 1804
- Date of Death:
- May 19, 1864
- Place of Birth:
- Salem, Massachusetts
- Place of Death:
- Plymouth, New Hampshire
- Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, 1824
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