EVENT SUMMARY: | BOOK CLUB I
The following article summarizes the original event which is listed below the summary.

Book Notes | ‘The Scarlet Letter’

April 19, 2024, at 2pm
 

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne was set in the 1600s in a small town in Puritan New England. The townspeople felt they had to punish Hester Prynne because she had a baby and, as far as they knew, was not married. Her punishment was to wear a red letter “A” (for “adultery”) on her bosom for the rest of her life. She refused to reveal who the father was.

Hester was ashamed and yet lived her life and raised a precocious little girl named Pearl. If Hester had to wear the letter, she was going to make it beautiful. She sewed an elaborate, ornamental type of broach. The townspeople saw her talent as a seamstress, and this is how she made her living. 

Enter a stranger

The young and respectable Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale was the town’s minister. Arthur had his own demons that encouraged self-flagellation and fasting to a point of weakness. Enter a stranger to town, Roger Chillingworth. He professes to be a doctor and therefore able to help the struggling minister. Roger moves in with Arthur to monitor the reverend’s health. 

We find out that Roger and Hester had been married but she left him, saying she never loved him. No one in town is aware of this and yet, although we don’t know how, we think Roger knows that Arthur is Pearl’s father.

The reverend feels terribly guilty about his sin and cowardice, hence his self-hate. Toward the end of the story, Hester, Pearl, and Arthur plan to return to England together to start a new life. But events intervene to keep this from happening.

The UMRA Book Club members thought this was a very difficult read. It was written in an Old English style and riddled with many words that we do not use anymore. Sentences go on and on, and the reader would lose track of the message the author was trying to convey. Some readers wondered why The Scarlet Letter was on high school reading lists. Also, for being such a long story, the ending was wrapped up pretty quickly and, some thought, contrived.

—Joni Mitchell, UMRA Book Club I

 


 


BOOK CLUB I

Book Club to meet April 19, 2024

Fri, Apr 19 2024, 2pm

Location
Event to be held via Zoom.
 

Joni Mitchell will lead the discussion of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne when the UMRA book club meets via Zoom at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 19. Originally published in 1850, this classic novel is set in Puritan Boston during the years 1642 to 1649. It tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair but refuses to reveal her lover’s identity. The Scarlet Letter chronicles how she suffers publicly for her choices and how she works to create a new life of repentance and dignity. 

Email Pat Tollefson at [email protected] for more information. To read summaries of the book club’s discussions, go to umra.umn.edu and search for “Book Notes.”



Upcoming Events

Event Date: June 3, 2024, at 9:30am

We are in for a treat on June 3! Lynn Anderson, will lead us on trails at two parks near her Monticello home. Bring a bag lunch and we will gather in Lynn's yard along the Mississippi River for eating and socializing after the hike.


Event Date: June 14, 2024, at 7:10pm

Get out to the ballpark with fellow UMRA members for the annual U of M Day at Target Field as the Minnesota Twins take on the Oakland Athletics on June 14 at 7:10 p.m.


Event Date: June 17, 2024, at 9:30am

Please join us at 9:30 on June 17, 2024 for a walk around Lake Como in St. Paul before attending the UMRA Summer Social and Picnic starting at 11 at the Como Pavilion. A perfect opportunity to get in a walk before we gather to celebrate summer.


Event Date: June 17, 2024, at 11am

Picnic under the covered, open-air Como pavilion, gaze at the water, spy some birds, catch up with friends and former colleagues, and meet new members. We’ll have lunch with plenty of time for visiting and then compete in teams as we are challenged by our Quiz master(s)!


Event Date: June 24, 2024, at 8am

Healthy aging, mindfulness, fighting ageism, and more will be the focus of the third annual Age-Friendly University Day to be held on the U of M Twin Cities campus.