The Scarlet Letter: My Experience Essay

1679 Words 7 Pages
As a child of the age of hyper-information, I am usually introduced to concepts in their rawest possible form. Concepts that are streamlined so that they may glide their way elegantly into my understanding like the 2001: A Space Odyssey union of shuttle and station, backed by strains of the lilting Blue Danube [1]. Digesting Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ultra-dense Scarlet Letter, therefore, felt more properly compared to a Surgeon’s retrieval of his Rolex from the open chest cavity of an ill-fated patient, perhaps to a score of pounding, rapid, multi-tiered baroque fugues.

Yes, the ideas and connections were there, and they were fascinating and orchestrated beautifully. But I often found my head aching as I labored through the mounds of
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Student readers like myself have become jaded to these themes that once made the work controversial, revolutionary, and therefore more enticing to the teenage mind.

And once again, this is not the fault of Hawthorne. But while it’s important to recognize the significance of this work, it would be a bit of a stretch to claim that it has retained its risqué-ness and ingenuity, or expect a reader of this work today to turn beet red at any passing reference to coitus, or be inspired by this novel to experiment with unusual narrative forms. The book is, quite simply, old.

Due to the density of this work, I benefited from and enjoyed debating the thematic architectures of the novel in class much more than I did digging them out from beneath heaps of flowery verbiage. Talking about how the many symbols in the novel were related and what they all meant allowed me to milk the actual substance of the novel for all it was worth, even to the point of washing the bitter taste of tough-to-chew purple prose completely from my mouth, replacing it with something sweeter and infinitely more gratifying.

The characters and the ways they interact were fascinating to me mainly due to Sigmund Freud’s fascination with

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