How Long Does It Take To Read The Scarlet Letter

How long do you think it takes to read the book The Scarlet Letter?

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charcunning eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Don't give up on this book no matter how long it takes you to read it! I know it's hard to read, but wow! The story is amazing and the characters are so real.

The strategy I use is to figure out how many days I have to read something, count the chapters and figure out a daily goal for # of pages.

Also, because this book is difficult, be sure to have a dictionary close by! If you have your own copy of the book, take notes right on the pages so that when it's time for class discussion you'll have all your information right there! :)

Good luck!

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I am guessing that you are asking this question in order to plan the number of days or hours it will take you?  Generally, and as long as the vocabulary and description don't stump you, I would allow about 14-15 hours for a nice, slow read.  This is not a novel that is a "quick" read, by any means.  It is not a piece of pop fiction (like Twilight) and, as such, has vast literary elements that are meant to be explored and absorbed.  If you can swing it, I would only read one chapter a day so you won't get "burned out."  If you need to be done sooner, then read two or three chapters per day; however, I would warn you against reading any more than that.  Any teacher would want you to absorb and enjoy this great piece of literature!  : )

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timbrady eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Just so you don't get discouraged, I can't imagine finishing this novel in 2 hours.  I have read it many times, and it always takes me at least 12 reading hours to complete it.  In the beginning it took a long time to get through the sentences/vocabulary as suggested above; now it takes me longer to enjoy Hawthorne's wonderful use of language, image, etc.

It will take you as long as it takes to read the novel; it depends what you want to do with it and get out of it.  I wouldn't worry about the time.  Enjoy the novel ... it's a great read.

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amy-lepore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Just because something is difficult to read doesn't mean it shouldn't be read.  We are too accustomed to things being "easy".  Anything worth doing is worth doing right...that includes education. Invest in yourself and your future and work through the hard stuff.  You'll be a better person when you come out on the other side.

That having been said, most readers of average reading ability can finish this book in about 2 hours. However, I always take at least 2 weeks with this novel in my classes so we can think and talk about the beauty of the language, the imagery, and the human side of this story. Relax and enjoy the book. Put yourself in the shoes of the character you relate to most...this is how you allow a book to become part of you.

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Just to underscore the excellent advice of the others, and to add another suggestion:  Do a little research on Hawthorne, for so much of the man's thinking comes through in this novel.  His lines "Be true! Be true!" in a late chapter underscore his disdain for the Puritan hypocrisy, a hypocrisy that scarred his ancestors and their progeny.

A close reading of Hawthorne's novel is important because it has been praised as one of the greatest American novels because of the author's skillful use of symbolism.  Thus, you will want to pay attention to this element and not expect the characters to be so developed and realistic as in modern novels.  (as well as the allegorical aspect as mrsmonica has mentioned)  In fact, with this skillful use of symbolism, "The Scarlet Letter is a precursor to many modern American novels, and having read it will assist you in understanding better such novels.

As Mark Twain humorously remarked, "A classic is a novel that one wishes to say he/she has read without having to go to the trouble of reading it."  "The Scarlet Letter" is a novel that you may have to struggle with, but later you will be glad to have read it.

 

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McKinstry Rose eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I have encountered the same reading issues as Post #2 with my students.  Many find SL quite difficult to get through because of Hawthorne's extensive description, difficult vocabulary, and...

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