The Scarlet Letter Essay
English III Honors
Hawthorne was intrigued by the idea that a character’s internal outlook could
shape his/her outward appearance. Discuss how Hester, Dimmesdale, and
Chillingworth are transformed physically and psychologically throughout the course of
the novel. For Hester, you must address three separate physical/psychological
transformations, for Dimmesdale you must address two, and Chillingworth will only
have one. Support your essay with direct quotes from the novel. Explain the significance
of each quote. Be sure to discuss HOW the physical transformation echoes an earlier
psychological transformation. Also, be sure to discuss what events or pressures led up
to the psychological transformation.
Basic Essay Structure
All essays need an introduction with an attention-getter and a linking statement
connecting the author and title to the thesis statement.
Main body paragraphs must included specific quotes and examples taken from the
novel. Make sure the quotes you select are the most significant in the novel. Always
explain and interpret the significance of the quotes you use. Your main body paragraphs
should be approximately 75% commentary or analysis. Remember, you are NOT
summarizing the novel, you are analyzing the topic of transformation as it applies to three
characters. Your essay will be significantly longer than 5 paragraphs in length. How
much longer is up to you. (My best estimate would be 10 paragraphs.)
All essays must show a significant amount of time, effort, and thought invested.
Ideas and language used must reflect a high degree of sophistication and a mastery of
expression. Obviously, all essays must be correct—spelling, punctuation, and grammar
do count. Essays must be typed, double-spaced, on white paper with black ink. Do not
place your essay in a cover, simply staple it in the left hand corner. I do not accept
computer disks or storage devices in lieu of hard copies. All essays must be printed out
on time. Do not come to me in a panic on the due date waving a disk at me or telling me
your computer crashed. Don’t wait until the last minute to write and print your essay.
Students who are absent on the due date will need to either turn their essays
in early, email it to me on or before the due date( if I can’t open the document then
the essay gets a zero), or have a friend, relative, or neighbor drop the essay off at
school. Late essays will not earn any credit.
You are expected to do your own thinking and writing on this essay. Do not
include anything from outside sources. Do not access any on-line essays or study guide
resources (i.e. Sparks Notes, Cliff’s Notes, etc.) Do not share your essay with a classmate
or “help” someone else. To quote Hawthorne, “Be true! Be true! Be true!”
Points Possible: 200