Tag Archives: the scarlet letter

Throwback Thursday ~ reflecting upon old posts

I write a lot — especially as of lately. I have published hundreds of posts on here. I feel shy about a lot of them and some even make me cringe. But that is what art is all about, yes? –Putting your raw self out there, vulnerable to criticism. My ego doesn’t always like it: counting all the likes/comments/views, worried about putting things out there that might make me look bad or doesn’t seem good enough. It’s a soul thing.

There are a select few posts that I am proud of. So I’d like to go back and reassess them, noting what I like and what has room for improvement.

The Scarlet Letter

Recap: I reread the classic “The Scarlet Letter” and decided to recap the story from Hester Prynne’s view, which I find so fascinating. No other book has been able to capture themes of guilt, shame, and judgment so distinctively. It opens your mind and forces you to reevaluate right vs. wrong. There is no true hero or villain. The husband, who deserves the most pity at the beginning of the story, turns out to be the evil one in the end. The priest, who seems to be most despised by the reader in the beginning, ends up being the truest and most noble figure in the end. And Hester Prynne experiences a deep shift in character, going through a punishment that she may not have deserved, yet greatly benefitted from somehow.

Highlight: I jumped into Hester Prynne’s shoes to get a full feel for this story. After reading it from a bird’s eye view, I wanted to experience it through Hester herself. So I even went so far as to purchase an early modern period costume and dress up.

Critique: I definitely could’ve made a longer post. It feels somewhat rushed to me. Generally, it’s good to keep blog posts short because most readers are looking for something quick and light. But I’m so passionate about the book that it deserves an essay. So in the future I may rewrite it and add much more depth to it, although I’d have to reread the book again.

Book Review: “Antony and Cleopatra”

Recap: As the title suggests, this is a book review. It is completely nonfiction, however the hard facts are still full of drama. This book was difficult to read, as it is very dry. It was an extremely enjoyable challenge. I did a lot of highlighting (as well as a lot of page-skipping…) Obvious to the title, the book follows the separate lives of Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony, and how their lives eventually intersected.

Highlight: I’m proud of how much work I put into this. This is a meaty post. It took so much time and effort. I did a lot of editing before I finally published it.

Critique: As much as I was fascinated by the romance of Cleo & Antony, I wonder why I did not put more focus on Cleopatra’s story. A little while back, I purchased a nonfiction book that solely targets Cleo herself, and I’m planning to write an even better post about that one. Because life is not just about romance, it’s also about individuality!

Film Review: The Love Witch

Recap: “The Love Witch” is one of my favorite films! Why? One word: AESTHETICS! Nostalgic and dreamy vibes, accompanied by dark humor and witchcraft. The main character, Elaine, is an absolute monster. Yet for some strange reason, she possess a surreal quality of magic that everyone lusts after (including me — yes, I’m obsessed with her aesthetic.)

Highlight: My intention was to provide a light synopsis of the film to an audience that has yet to see it. Therefore, I did not want to give away and details that would spoil the plot line. I wanted to encourage others to watch it. I think I did pretty well at capturing the film’s aesthetic.

Critique: There’s still a lot more that could have been said. If I wasn’t worried about spoilers, than I would have dove much deeper. The character of Elaine is quite fascinating. I may write a post analyzing her character, which will require me to completely spoil the ending.

The Scarlet Letter

β€œNo man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”

Hello, my name is Hester Prynne.

I have a story to tell. The scarlet letter “A” that I bare on my chest speaks for itself. What was intended to be a symbol of sin and punishment, has transformed into a symbol of strength.

During the lonely days when my husband traveled far on a quest to satisfy his thirst for knowledge, I found myself tangled in a love affair with my minister. God was always watching. And perhaps He had forgiven me, for sending me the miracle of life.

The people did not forgive me, however. I was locked away until the birth of my child, Pearl, and then stranded to live a life of seclusion from society. The dirty looks, the judgement, the whispers… as much as I knew I deserved it, the suffering was unbearable. No one spoke to me. The bright scarlet letter “A” had haunted me.

My child was the one thing that no one could ever take away from me. They could outcast me, they could strip me of my dignity, but they could never take away my little Pearl. They called her a demon child, an incarnation of Satan. She hissed at the strangers who casted judgement upon us. And still, I knew she had come from thy heavenly Father. As mischievous as this wild one was, there was something inside of her that proved to be angelic.

It was painful to watch the minister from a distance continue living his holy life in peace. My secrecy protected him… I carried the entire weight of both of our sins… or so it seemed. I had been yet to learn that he had carved a letter “A” on his chest that revealed scarlet red blood. Clutching his hand against his heart became a reflex. He was in fact a tortured soul. It turns out, I wore my sorrows on the outside while he wore them on the inside.

Time went on and I proved myself to be noble. I learned that the human heart is forgiving, and people would generally rather choose love over hatred. The nasty gossip gradually turned into positive comments. Some said my “A” should stand for “Able,” representing how I am able to prove myself. However, the minister was still left to suffer in silence.

Seven years had gone by before I met with the minister in the woods and we discussed everything. It was then, when I revealed to him that his trusted physician was actually my vengeful husband in disguise. He was yet another tortured soul, yet sin was heaviest in his heart, because he was seeking revenge. And so the minister and I made a plan to run away together. He would know his daughter, our little Pearl. The three of us could finally escape our misery and start over. We saw a scarlet red “A” appear in the sky, as if it was a direct message from God Himself!

The whole thing felt like a dream, that night in the woods. In a few days he would deliver his final speech as a minister and then reveal himself to the world. And so, he gave the most inspiring speech you could have ever imagined. The three of us held hands for everyone to see. There was such strong, intense, life-consuming energy in that moment. So powerful that it took my lover’s life away. In his final moment, he thanked God for the chance to make his peace before reaching Heaven’s gate.

I recently reread “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I first read it in high school English class and for some reason I have always felt really drawn to the story. I am typically not a huge fan of the classics, but this one stands out to me. I like the paradox of the nature of Hester Prynne’s character: how she is nonconformist yet submissive at the same time. The way she handles her punishment is graceful. She is strong enough to refuse revealing who Pearl’s father is, and still she dutifully wears her “A” without bargaining or self-pity. I think what amazes me most is how a piece of writing from the 1800s, based on the 1600s, can still be relatable today. It’s universal. It really says so much about society and the nature of heart.