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The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne
Further Study

Companion Texts

Further Study Companion Texts

NPR: Hester Prynne, Sinner, Victim, Object, Winner


This web resource includes an audio file with an NPR radio program describing the impact of Hester Prynne as a literary character. The page also includes clips from two film adaptations of the novel, commentary from the contemporary author John Updike on the figure of Hester impacted his own writing, and an article discussing the significance of this figure.

Melville, Herman. “Hawthorne and His Mosses.


This famous 1850 essay by Hawthorne’s friend, neighbor, and literary competitor Herman Melville offers a glimpse into what Melville most admired about Hawthorne’s writing. In it, Melville calls Hawthorne the American Shakespeare and praises him for mastering the “great Art of Telling the Truth.”

Hawthorne, Julian. “The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.”


36 years after the publication of Hawthorne’s novel, his son Julian wrote this essay discussing the significance and impact of the text. The essay discusses the plot of the novel, as well as reflecting on why Hawthorne’s work was innovative and important.

Sarah Vowell on The Puritans’ Legacy


This interview with radio host and author Sarah Vowell discusses her fascination with the history of Puritans and why she sees this period as still being central to American culture and identity. She discusses figures and locations that served as inspiration to Hawthorne when he wrote The Scarlet Letter.

Pilgrim Hall Museum Website


This web resource is the homepage of the Pilgrim Hall museum in Plymouth, MA. It includes historical and contextual information about the pilgrims, as well as images of some of the artifacts in the museum collection. These objects and artifacts reflect the kind of day to day reality of the world described in Hawthorne’s novel.

The Scarlet Letter Film Adaptation (1934)


This 1934 movie is one of the earliest adaptations of Hawthorne’s novel. It stars Collen Moore as Hester and offers an interesting perspective on what another time period still found scandalous about Hawthorne’s story.