Scarlet Letter Packets

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OBJECTIVES: Student will be able to

      Writing based on research
      Uses research process: selecting topic, formulating questions, identifying key words, choosing sources, skimming,
       paraphrasing, note-taking, organizing, summarizing, and presenting.
      Understands major cultural, religious, philosophical, and political influence on the literature of a given period or
      Applies knowledge of literary terms to works of literature


      What makes an individual an outcast in a society and how is this dependent upon the society in which the
       individual lives?
      Does society need outcasts?
      How and why do cultural norms change?
      What is an individual’s responsibility to a society?
      What is a society’s responsibility to its citizens?
      Is the society depicted a realization of Utopia? Why or Why not?

SKILLS: Reference Materials, Developing Paragraphs Reading Non-Fiction
KEY: BR = Bellringer A= Assessment, PE = Personal Enrichment, H=Homework, IC=Inclass, P=Portfolio, E=Essay
Date                   Due Today                       In Class                     Homework
Nov 6th Thursday       Final Draft Essay               BR: PREREAD Q’s              Read Chap 1-11
                                                        Assign Scarlet Letter Books CREATE PERSONAL
                                                       DISCUSS LEARNING PACKET      SYMBOL
                                                                                    Vocabulary Definitions

Nov 11th               NO SCHOOL Veterans Day
Nov 12th               Definitions                Discussion on Symbolism           READ Chap 12-13
                                                  Symbolism Activity (IC)           Sentences for Vocab.
Nov 13th               No School REPORT CARD PICK UP DAY                            Study For QUIZ FRIDAY

Nov 14th               Senteces for Week I Vocab.    Quiz Vocabulary, Symbols,      Read chapters 14-16
                                                     comprehension of first         Vocab List 2
                                                     chapters (A)
Nov 17th               Definitions for Week II       ABC’s of Scarlet Letter, New   Read chapters 17-18
                       Vocabulary                    Vocab, Social Analysis         Finish Questions
                                                     Discussion Issues in book      Sentences for Vocab
                                                     present in today’s culture
Nov 18th               Group Presentation Info                                      Read Chapters 19-20
Nov 19th               Sentences Due                 Outcast Project                Read chapters 21-22
                                                     In Library
Nov 20th                                                                            Read chapters 23-24
Nov 21st               ABC POEM (A)                  BOOK TALK (IC)                 FINISH OUTCAST / Take
                       Discussion Questions                                         Test

Although commonly called a novel, The Scarlet Letter is actually a romance. Hawthorne makes this distinction because at the
time he was writing, novels were supposed to deal with realistic representations of human experiences or external truths.
Romances, on the other hand, were concerned with internal truths, or “truths of the human heart,” as Hawthorne states in his
Preface to The House of the Seven Gables. Romances, therefore, allowed the author to deviate from reality in favor of
imagination. Thus The Scarlet Letter is not an historical novel about Puritan Boston, but a romance set 200 years before
Hawthorne’s time in which he tells a tale that may have occurred, given some historical facts and many insights into human
nature. Writing a romance about the past gives Hawthorne the freedom to present several versions of what might have
happened, depending on whose perspective is presented. This is why after the death of Arthur Dimmesdale, several theories
are submitted as to how the scarlet “A” came to be imprinted on his breast. The insignia could have been self-inflicted, or
wrought by Chillingworth’s magic, or a manifestation of Dimmesdale’s remorseful spirit. Hawthorne presents all three theories
non-judgementally because what matters most is not how the scarlet letter got there, but that it confirms the truth about
Dimmesdale’s adulterous heart. The genre of the romance also allowed Hawthorne to embellish the relationship between
humans and nature. For example, the babbling brook in the forest scene appears to sympathize with Hester and Dimmesdale
and adds “this other tale to the mystery with which its little heart was already overburdened....” (p. 201). In addition, the “A”-
shaped meteor which appears the night Governor Winthrop dies and Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold is interpreted as both
a sign from heaven denouncing Dimmesdale as an adulterer and also as standing for “Angel” as the soul of a revered
magistrate ascends into heaven, depending upon the orientation of its observer.

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts. His father and grandfather were both New England
seafarers. After his father died of yellow fever, Hawthorne (who was four years old), his mother, and sisters lived with his
mother’s relatives. Following his graduation from Bowdoin College, New Brunswick, Maine, in 1825, Hawthorne returned to
Salem where he struggled as a short story writer for 12 years. He published Twice-Told Tales in 1837. From 1839 to 1841,
Hawthorne worked as a measurer in the Boston Custom House. In 1842, he married Sophia Peabody. The Scarlet Letter,
published in 1850, brought him recognition as an author. He published The House of the Seven Gables in 1851. Hawthorne
died on May 19, 1864, at Plymouth, New Hampshire.

Hawthorne wrote during the Romantic Period in American literature which lasted from 1830 to 1865. Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edgar Allen Poe, and Walt Whitman were his literary
contemporaries. The Scarlet Letter is considered a piece of American Romantic literature because it is set in a remote past, the
Puritan era 200 years prior to Hawthorne’s time, and because it deals with the interior psychology of individual characters.

A religious group which migrated from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England in the early 1600s, the
Puritans believed in a “pure” interpretation of the Bible which did not include some of the traditional practices of the Church
of England. Although the Church did not officially control the State in Puritan settlements, religion and government were
closely intertwined. The ministers counseled the magistrates in all affairs concerning the settlement and its citizens. The Puritans
had strict rules against the theater, religious music, sensuous poetry, and frivolous dress.

Week 1                                                                Week 2
  1) Brevity                                                            1) Mien
  2) Concise                                                            2) Assimulate
  3) Laconic                                                            3) Tempestuous
  4) Pithy                                                              4) Vivify
  5) Quiescent                                                          5) Sojourn
  6) Reticent                                                           6) Tangible
  7) Succinct                                                           7) Superfluous
  8) taciturn                                                           8) Progenitor
  9) terse                                                              9) Sanctify
  10) Transgress                                                        10) Exhort
      The Scarlet Letter Symbols Chart

        Symbol        Page Number/       Use/Meaning in book   Traditional Meaning (from
                         Chapter                                Symbolism dictionaries)



prison door







letter “A”






triads (groups of
Black Man of the
                                              ABC’s of The Scarlet Letter

You will be writing an alphabet poem for the novel The Scarlet Letter. In your poem, you should include characters,
events, symbols, and other elements from the novel. Your poem may rhyme if you wish but it is not a requirement. Your
poem will be 26 lines long—one line for each letter of the alphabet.

A is for the letter she wears on her dress.                     Notice that additional information is given.
B is for Boston where the story is set.                         The line doesn’t just explain that “C is for
C is for Chillingworth who is bent on revenge.                  Chillingworth”; it provides some insight into
                                                                Chillingworth’s actions or behaviors. It is
D is for Dimmesdale who has hidden sin.                         important that your poem show insight into
E is for elflike—this is how Pearl is described.                the characters and events in the novel.
F is for forest where the Black Man lives.
G is for Governor Bellingham for whom Hester sews.
H is for Hester who has an illegitimate child.
Use this worksheet to create your rough draft.

A is for __________________________________________________________________
B is for __________________________________________________________________
C is for __________________________________________________________________
D is for __________________________________________________________________
E is for __________________________________________________________________
F is for __________________________________________________________________
G is for __________________________________________________________________
H is for __________________________________________________________________
I is for __________________________________________________________________
J is for __________________________________________________________________
K is for __________________________________________________________________
L is for __________________________________________________________________
M is for __________________________________________________________________
N is for __________________________________________________________________
O is for __________________________________________________________________
P is for __________________________________________________________________
Q is for __________________________________________________________________
R is for __________________________________________________________________
S is for __________________________________________________________________
T is for __________________________________________________________________
U is for __________________________________________________________________
V is for __________________________________________________________________
W is for _________________________________________________________________
X is for __________________________________________________________________
Y is for __________________________________________________________________
Z is for __________________________________________________________________
Chapters 1-4
                                             Chapters 9-12
1. What is the setting of the story?         1. What are the townspeople’s reactions
                                             to Chillingworth’s lodging in the same
2. What legend accounts for the
                                             house as Dimmesdale?
existence of the rose bush by the prison
door?                                        2. What changes have taken place in
                                             Chillingworth over the years?
3. What is the mood of the crowd, and
why is their attention focused on the        3. What actions does Dimmesdale take
door?                                        to punish himself?

4. What reasons are given as to why          4. Why is Chillingworth called a “leech,”
Hester Prynne was not executed for her       and why, at another point, does the
crime? What would the Puritan women          narrator compare him to a miner?
have done to her if given the power?
                                             5. What is the significance of
5. What are Hester’s specific actions as     Chillingworth’s examining Dimmesdale’s
she walks from the prison to the             chest?
                                             Chapters 13-15
Chapters 5-8                                 1. What are the effects of the letter on
1. After her ordeal, where did Hester        Hester Prynne over this seven year
choose to live? Why?                         interval?

2. What occupation did Hester take up?       2. What crime has Hester committed
                                             which, if known to the Puritans, would
3. Describe Hester’s appearance and
                                             have resulted in her death?
mental state during this time period.
                                             3. What value does Hester place upon
4. Give at least three examples of
                                             her life?
Hester’s treatment by the community.
                                             4. What does Hester see as necessary
5. Describe Pearl’s personality and
                                             before women would be treated equally
                                             in society?

6. What is Pearl’s reaction to the scarlet   5. What is the meaning of the line, “the
letter?                                      scarlet letter had not done its office”?

7. Why does Hester go the Governor’s         Chapters 16-19
1. Why does Hester prefer to meet with      Dimmesdale’s sermon?
Dimmesdale in the forest rather than in
                                            2. Describe the minister’s condition after
the settlement?
                                            the speech, and tell which people offer
2. What significance can be attributed to   him assistance.
the play of sunlight on Pearl and Hester?
                                            3. Where are the four major characters
3. What story does Pearl hear of her        during the final scaffold scene?
mother’s involvement with the Black Man
                                            4. What changes occur in Pearl? What
of the Forest?
                                            does she accept from Dimmesdale?
4. What are Dimmesdale’s reactions
                                            5. What moral does the narrator say is
when Hester tells him Chillingworth’s
                                            central to the story?
true identity?
                                            6. What are the various versions of what
5. What effect does Hester have upon
                                            was seen on Dimmesdale’s chest?

Chapters 20-22
1. What is Hester’s plan for Dimmesdale,
Pearl, and herself?

2. What is Dimmesdale tempted to do as
he returns to his room? Why?

3. What decision does he make as he
reaches his lodging?

4. What does the Puritan celebration tell
about their values?

5. How has Chillingworth interfered with
Hester’s plan?

6. What does the procession show about
Puritan values?

7. What is the minister’s mental state as
he walks to the meeting-house?

Chapters 22-24
1. What is the topic and mood of