Annotations for The Scarlet Letter
Below is the assignment for reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. As you read, you will need to
keep an annotative journal. This journal will be used to facilitate classroom discussion about TSL, and it will
be turned in for a major grade. The due date for the complete journal is November 7, 2011. Your annotative
journal will need to include the following elements:
Characters: There are 4 major characters. You need to know when they are first introduced, whether they are
dynamic or static, whether they are the protagonists or the antagonists, how they conflict with each other, what
attributes they have. You will need to have proof of your opinions, which means having a page number and at
least 2 quotations for each idea to show me.
Vocabulary: There are many words in this novel with which you may not be entirely conversant. Write these
down, including the sentence (for context) and the page number. Then define the word (either look it up or
figure it out).
Symbols: Look for specific symbols that are used (think MOTIF) in the novel. List them, with the page
numbers, and analyze WHY Hawthorne used them. What do they mean?
Issues: Remember, a classic novel is expected to teach us something about life and humanity. What themes
about life, sin, and humanity does this novel depict? Where can you infer these themes/messages (what
We will have a few days to discuss problems/questions/ideas about the novel in class as we also read other
poems and short stories from the era. Be sure to stay on target with the reading. See dates below. You do not
have to read “The Custom House.” We will read parts of that together.
October 25 Discuss Chapters 1-9
October 31 Discuss Chapters 10-15
November 7 Discuss Chapters 16-24