Bad Sentences in Classic Literature: The Scarlet Letter

Dysfunctional Literacy

Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne has a lot going for it as a classic novel.  It’s relatively short, and most modern readers would rather read a short classic novel than a long one.  The Scarlet Letter deals with an interesting subject matter, and the symbolism involved is stuff that a literal guy like me can understand.  But like a lot of classic literature, the sentences can be tough to get through.

Different people have different standards for bad sentences.  If a sentence would have gotten me red-marked for writing it back when I was a kid or lectured at by my writers groups as an adult, then I consider it a bad sentence.  The sentences in The Scarlet Letter aren’t as long and ponderous as those in some classic literature, but there are plenty of other issues.  For example, in Chapter I, “The Prison Door,” Hawthorne starts the book…

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