While I'm often one of the most vocally opposed to the large percentage of "classics" students are forced to read as part of high school and required college curricula. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne isn't one of the books I think have little value as forced reads.The story of Hester Prynne is pretty much known regardless of whether you've read the book before: in 17th century Boston, a woman who had a child from an adulterous affair is forced to wear a red letter "A" to remind others of her shame. As the book plays out, we learn that the father of her child is in the community, but as only she had the visible evidence of the child, he bears no public shame.Beyond the lesson of "it takes two to tango" other themes include public ridicule, dealing with guilt, how revenge doesn't pay. The language isn't too archaic to be understood, and the story as it plays out is still a great read even if you know how it ends. It's one I've reread more than once since finally biting the bullet in college, and is one classic that does stand the test of time.