"The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

En esta obra maestra de la literatura romántica, el autor de Massachusetts explora temas como la sexualidad, el pecado y la falsa moral puritana de las primeras colonias norteamericanas del siglo XVII.

Bandera UK
Daniel Francis

Speaker (UK accent)

Bandera USA
Molly Malcolm

Speaker (American accent)

Actualizado a

465 The Scarlett Letter b cordon

Escucha este articulo

Imprimir

Nathaniel Hawthorne, a contemporary of Edgar Allan Poe, was an American novelist and short story writer in the dark romantic tradition. Born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1804, his ancestors had been influential members of the Puritan movement. Hawthorne used his family history to explore themes of morality, guilt and sin in his fiction. He’d achieved critical acclaim, but little financial success, until the publication of The Scarlet Letter.

prison

The novel explores the self-destructive power of love, and the judgement of others. The book is set in 17th-century Boston in a Puritan community into which young Hester Prynne is released from prison to begin a new life. First, however, she must stand in the marketplace and face the townsfolk. In her arms she holds a small child, and the letter ‘A’ is prominently sewn onto her dress. 

“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...”

“Sobre el pechero de su vestido, sobre un fino paño rojo, rodeada de un complicado bordado de fantásticos floreos de hilo de oro, apareció la letra A. Estaba tan artísticamente hecha y con tanta fertilidad y alegre lujo de la fantasía, que hacía el efecto de un adorno final y adecuado a la ropa que vestía”.

‘A’ for ADULTERY

The ‘A’ stands for her crime, that of adultery. While her husband was at sea, presumed dead, Hester became pregnant. The ‘A is considered a “scarlet letter”, and in a community governed by strict religious rules, it means that Hester and her daughter, Pearl, must now live as outcasts. Hester, however, believes that her actions were born of true love. She refuses to name the man who was her fellow sinner, even when asked to do so by the town’s popular young clergyman, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale.

“‘I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow-sinner and fellow-sufferer! Be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him; for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee, on thy pedestal of shame, yet better it were so, than to hide a guilty heart through life.’”

“— ¡[...] te ordeno que digas el nombre de tu compañero de pecado y compañero de sufrimiento! No calles por cualquier piedad equivocada o ternura hacia él; porque, créeme, Hester, aunque tuviese que descender desde un alto puesto y permanecer de pie junto a ti, sobre tu pedestal de vergüenza, mejor sería así que ocultar un corazón culpable durante toda la vida”.

465 The Scarlett Letter c cordon

WARNING

An older man watches Hester at the marketplace. When he later approaches her, she recognises the husband she believed to be lost at sea. He married her for her beauty and intelligence, but she never loved him. Now he demands the name of her lover, and delivers a warning.

“‘Believe me, Hester, there are few things, — whether in the outward world, or, to a certain depth, in the invisible sphere of thought, — few things hidden from the man, who devotes himself earnestly and unreservedly to the solution of a mystery.’”

“—Créeme, Hester; hay pocas cosas, bien sea en el ancho mundo o, hasta cierta profundidad, en la invisible esfera del pensamiento, pocas cosas ocultas para el hombre que se dedica ávidamente y sin reservas a la solución de un misterio”.

OBSESSION

Hester’s husband becomes obsessed with discovering the identity of the man who loves his wife and is the father of Pearl. He teams up with Reverend Dimmesdale, who appears troubled and unwell. Tragedy seems inevitable. Can Hester escape Boston for Europe? Will the identity of her lover be revealed? The situation inevitably affects young Pearl, who seems older than her years when she answers Hester’s question about the ‘A’ on her mother’s dress:

“‘Dost thy know, child, wherefore thy mother wears this letter?’

‘Truly do I!’ answered Pearl, looking brightly into her mother’s face. ‘It is for the same reason that the minister keeps his hand over his heart!’”

“—¿Sabes, hija mía, por qué lleva tu madre esta letra?

—¡Ciertamente! —respondió Perla, echando a su madre una mirada inteligente—. ¡Es por la misma razón que el ministro se lleva la mano al corazón!”.

INSIGHT

A moral mystery, The Scarlet Letter quickly became a bestseller. Buoyed by his success, Hawthorne wrote three more novels before his death in 1864. His direct prose, dark symbolism and psychological insight influenced many future American writers, including Herman Melville, Henry James and William Faulkner. There have been several film adaptations of The Scarlet Letter, including a 1995 movie starring Demi Moore and Gary Oldman, and directed by Roland Joffé. The 2010 romantic comedy film Easy A, set in an American high school and starring Emma Stone, is loosely based on Hawthorne’s novel.  

460 Speak Up ESP

Este artículo pertenece al número de december 2023 de la revista Speak Up.

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Classic Books

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Pasados más de tres siglos, esta célebre novela satírica continúa hoy vigente; una cumbre de la literatura universal que es a la vez un relato de aventuras y una crítica sobre la construcción de las sociedades modernas.

Julian Earwaker

The Life of a Millennial Nun
Tony Greaves

People

The Life of a Millennial Nun

La vida de la mayoría de los millennials gira en torno las redes sociales, los estudios y el trabajo. Pero también hay jóvenes que escogen una vida muy diferente, como esta monja de clausura de un monasterio en Nueva Jersey. Hablamos con ella para que nos explique cómo es su día a día y nos cuente cómo descubrió su vocación.

Talitha Linehan

More in Explore

Crema inglesa: historia, receta y cómo servirla
iStock

Tips and resources

Crema inglesa: historia, receta y cómo servirla

La crema inglesa es una de las cremas básicas de repostería. Se elabora con muy pocos ingredientes y está deliciosa sola o como acompañamiento de otros postres. ¡Aquí tienes la receta paso a paso!

Julia Nigmatullina

TODAY’S TOP STORIES

Medical English: Lifting the Language Barrier in Health
Gtres

Language

Medical English: Lifting the Language Barrier in Health

El sistema de salud pública del Reino Unido ha iniciado una campaña para acercar el lenguaje médico al gran público y favorecer así las comunicación entre los pacientes y los profesionales sanitarios.

Conor Gleeson