It’s working!

28 Feb

In chapter 2 Hester Prynne is standing on the pillory, wearing the scarlet A in public for the first time.  Instead of seeing the crowd of people staring at her and her child, Hester begins “seeing” scenes from her past.  It’s her way of coping with the humiliation of her punishment.

Hester Prynne at the Stocks - an engraved illustration from an 1878 edition of The Scarlet Letter

Her mind, and especially her memory, was preternaturally active, and kept bringing up other scenes than this roughly hewn street of a little town on the edge of the Western wilderness; other faces than were lowering upon her from beneath the brims of those steeple-crowned hats.

This reader cheered, oh, not for Hester, but for herself.  She cheered for the fact that she did not need to consult a dictionary to know the meaning of the word preternaturally.  Then this reader cheered for the blogger who wrote the “Classic Word of the Day” posts.  Thanks, Christina.  It’s working!


Posted by on February 28, 2012 in The Scarlet Letter


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6 responses to “It’s working!

  1. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    February 28, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I agree, “Classic Word of the Day” posts are very helpful!

  2. Christina Joy

    February 28, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Oh, just wait. Preternatural seems to be one of Hawthorne’s pet words. He uses it at least once a chapter, I think.

    Also, I heard the word purient on the radio the other day. Wait, did I do a post on that one, or did I decide that I probably should have known it and skipped it? You know, I only like to admit my ignorance up to a point.

  3. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    March 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I was at Target today (minding my own business) and suddenly there was “preternatural” staring me right in the face. I was skimming over the NY Times bestsellers and it was on the book description for Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese. I instantly thought of your post Christine:)

    • Christine

      March 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm

      Christina said I’d see that vocab term in TSL and I have! Now if I could just seemlessly include it in normal conversation, I’d feel really accomplished.

  4. Jeannette

    March 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    It would help if you re-included pronunciation guides again. That way we won’t SOUND stupid when we work these big words in.

    • Adriana @ Classical Quest

      March 2, 2012 at 11:05 am

      I second that motion.

      I often use the perfect word in conversation, yet my husband loves to tease me about my pronunciation.


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