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"It is to the credit of human nature, that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves more readily than it hates."
A key figure in the development of American literature, Nathaniel Hawthorne was also profoundly influenced by his ancestors and the Christianity that underscored their Puritan heritage. A literary classic, The Scarlet Letter presents a profound meditation on the nature of sin, repentance, and redemption, and on how such Christian concepts may be integrated into American democracy.
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ICE Study Guides are constructed to aid the reader of ICE classics to achieve a level of critical and literary appreciation befitting the works themselves.
Ideally suited for students themselves and as a guide for teachers, the ICE Study Guides serve as a complement to the treasures of critical appreciation already included in ICE titles.
Mary R. Reichardt, the editor of this edition, is a professor of literature in the Catholic Studies department at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul MN.
A look at the essays
Questions of the heart predominate in the tale; Jennifer Bonsell guides us through the interplay of symbolic representations in "Hawthorne on the Human Heart".
Richard Harp takes to task the idea that the daughter of Hester and Dimmesdale, Pearl, is merely sin embodied in "Pearl and Penance".
Nevertheless, sin is a huge part of the story's tone and plot, so we turn to Regis Martin's look at the characters' sins and their struggle to deal with its effects.
Aaron Urbanczyk situates the reader with the introductory essay.
Books by Author
by last name, except for Wm. Shakespeare
Meet the Minds behind the Scarlet Letter Edition
Mary Reichardt is Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas, Saint Paul, Minnesota. She received a PhD in literature from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has published eight books, including Catholic Women Writers (Greenwood, 2001), Exploring Catholic Literature (Sheed and Ward / Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), the two-volume Encyclopedia of Catholic Literature (Greenwood, 2004), and Between Human and Divine: The Catholic Vision in Contemporary Literature (Catholic University of America Press, 2010).
Aaron Urbanczyk is Assistant Professor of English at Southern Catholic College in Dawsonville, Georgia. His publications include articles and reviews primarily in the fields of American literature and literary theory. He has taught literature at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and at Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida.
Jennifer Bonsell, a married mother of three, is an English teacher and head of the arts faculty at Trinity Christian School in New Jersey. Currently a graduate student with the Shakespeare Institute, she received her B.A. in English from the University of London.
Critical Essays In
Richard Harp is chair of the Department of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and is founding coeditor of the Ben Jonson Journal (Edinburgh University Press), which publishes articles and reviews on all respects of Renaissance literature. He has published The Cambridge Companion to Ben Jonson (Cambridge University Press, 2001) with Stanley Stewart, fellow co-founder of the journal. He has also published books (with Robert Evans) on Frank O'Connor and Brian Friel and articles on other aspects of Irish literature. His article on Father Martin D'Arcy's unpublished literary correspondence was the cover story in the Times Literary Supplement on December 11, 2009.
Regis Martin is professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where, in addition to courses on Christ and the Church, he teaches such landmarks of literature as the works of Dante, Eliot, and Flannery O'Connor. The author of several books, including The Last Things and The Suffering of Love, he is married and the father of many children.