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Scarlet Letter Chapters 1-2 Notes

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1 Scarlet Letter Chapters 1-2 Notes

2 Chapter One - Summary This chapter is more to show the setting – we become familiar with the viewpoint of the narrator and the colony where our story takes place. Little action – introduces the symbols in the story We witness a crowd (describe this crowd) in front of the prison. There is a piece of the prison the narrator points out to us…what is it? (Describe it) We learn that no matter how optimistic the founders of this colony were – the first two things they established were what? What does this tell us about them? One thing that sticks out against all the dark and drab scenery and is one of the important symbols.

3 Chapter One - Analysis Introduces the concept of sin
Symbols introduce the Puritan society and also mocks it for its contradictions Points out that their “world”/”utopia” has already fallen apart because they know that sin and death cannot be avoided. Shows us the beliefs of the Puritans that we are all born sinners (reference to Adam and Eve)

4 Chapter One - Symbols Rosebush –represents Hester: wild and beautiful
It was leftover from a time before when land was all forests It sprang from Anne Hutchinson’s footsteps The language conveys: -It is precious and valuable: its flowers are “gems” -It is “wild” – natural and not associated with man (unlike the man-made Puritan landscape) -Nature is kind and sympathetic and has a heart – opposite of the Puritans -The language also shows bias on the part of the narrator: -Calls Anne Hutchinson “sainted” which is ironic (for the puritans, the elect or the chosen were sainted and Anne was considered a sinner) and shows his sympathies lie with her, not the Puritans.

5 Chapter One – Characters
No characters are introduced in this chapter – the setting and scene is set up. The set is a Puritan settlement in Boston – 17th Century

6 Chapter One Answers What does Hawthorne mean when he calls the colony a “utopia”? They believed that it would be their freedom – their own land where they could celebrate their beliefs. What structures are required? Why? They first thing they build is a prison and a cemetery - shows that the community valued death and sin over all else Why does he point out the rose bush? The rose bush represents Hester – wild and beautiful in all that is not good. Who is Ann Hutchinson? Ann Hutchinson is a woman who pushed against the Puritans beliefs that were being taught and used the Bible to prove her points – she was before her time and was banished from the community – eventually she, her servants, and all her children (but one) were killed in an Indian attack.

7 Chapter 2 Summary As Hester makes her way to the scaffold from the prison, we learn from “hearing” bits of other conversations about Hester having an illegitimate child from an affair. A = Adulterer We learn the “A” is stitched in gold and scarlet We see a familiar face in the crowd…she cries in disbelief!

8 Chapter 2 - Analysis We are shown the Puritan belief that sin is not just something that needs to be dealt with between the individual and God but in public. The belief that sinners should be found and publicly charged. The smug-righteousness of this whole scene makes the reader think there is more to this than the villagers’ hope for virtue. It gives people the chance to fool themselves into thinking that their sins are not as bad as HERS… The letter = too flashy? She accepts the sin like the child…

9 Chapter 2 - Symbols Marketplace: represents the Puritan’s safe place where order resides: center of town where nothing is hidden -The town is gathered outside the prison door, waiting for the sinner The community is messed up: -Society is very black and white: they have no distinction between the degrees of sin and punishment -Everyone is treated the same -They’re trying to legislate morality: merging moral issues with civic laws -The whole town is gathered as if they’re waiting for a huge criminal and were as serious as witnessing a hanging --The scaffold is part of a system of punishment to promote good citizenship -The scaffold is a platform where people were usually hanged

10 Conveys conformity in a crowd of women
-gossips -hefty, rotund -“country women” -coarse: not refined -manly -harsh, cold, judgmental *associated with darkness *Conformity Hester -lady-like -elegant -refined -dainty -looks saintly (like Anne Hutchinson) -creative: child is a product of love *associated with light- she radiates *Individuality

11 Chapter Two Questions What do the women standing outside of the prison feel should be Hester Prynne’s sentence? Why? To brand her with a hot iron so she would wince from the pain – pinning something to her dress would do nothing really – it would be like wearing your sin as a piece of jewelry. What is the reaction of the women to Hester’s A? They can’t believe how beautiful it looks – they think she is trying to flaunt her sin instead of hiding it – they believe it is over the top and gaudy. Do they all agree? (**Revisit in Chapter 22) Come back at chapter 22 EXPLAIN: “one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another” Hester decides that one shameful thing will not cover another so she brings her baby out with her not to hide her away like she is ashamed of her. How does Hester look? Is this what the town expected? Why or Why not? She looks like she is ladylike, beautiful, and radiate. The crowd is expecting her to be just diminished and shriveled from the clouds of misfortune around her. They would have thought her sin was weighing heavier on her than what it appears when she walks out of that prison. What must she do during this short time out of prison? For how long? She must go before the community on the scaffold until 1 o’clock so they can all she her scarlet letter “A” and judge her for it. It is like the town has some public time to bash her for her sins. What is Hester’s background (past)? She had a small town life growing up and what sounds like a typical childhood with games, fights, sports, and everything else. She is also married but it is believed that she lost her husband at sea – until she sees him in the crowd. She has had an affair and from that comes Pearl.

12 Chapter Three - Summary
In the crowd – Hester spots a familiar face His clothing vs. his body deformity – facial expression? Shhh… Asks the crowd around him… What does he find out? How does he react? What is Hester refusing to do? Her punishment? What does the stranger say he has been? What does he vow to do? Hester is questioned in public – eventually led back the prison.

13 Chapter Three - Characters
The three men who question her are the town fathers… Governor Bellingham - Mature and fit for a community with little imagination and hope, has no sympathy Reverend Wilson – At the end of the questioning, he delivers a speech on sin – the “A” is used throughout the sermon. Reverend Dimmesdale: Young minister who is well known for being devote and intelligence. He does the questioning – and puts all the blame on her. Initial thoughts/feelings about the men? Notice where they are at during this all going on…What does that show us?

14 Chapter Four Hester and Pearl are agitated – call the doctor.
Enter Roger Chillingworth – her husband… Offers her medicine – she thinks it is…??? He doesn’t want to kill her: wants her to live so she can really suffer in shame What do we learn about their marriage? What was it like? It was her responsibility to bring him human warmth Describe Chillingworth – what kind of feelings or impressions about this guy? seems as if he’s talking the blame for her sin, but he doesn’t forgive her Wants to know the father – Hester refuses…why? This is her husband – doesn’t he deserve the right to know? They compromise.

15 In your Research section – Label it The Scarlett Letter Scandal
Pick some of the people on the list that you have never heard of and some people you have heard of…tonight – Google search each person and write down a few things about this person that has caused them to be “shunned” in some way or another. You may also do someone else that you think of not on the list. Make a few notes about this person is similar or different to Hester

16 Tiger Woods Kurt Cobain
Martha Stewart Miley Cyrus Britney Spears Naomi Campbell Michael Vick Barry Bonds Mike Tyson Monica Lewinsky Marion Jones Chris Brown Kobe Bryant Wynonna Ryder John Edwards Michael Phelps Jamie Lynn Spears Mel Gibson Tiger Woods Kurt Cobain Drew Barrymore Bill Clinton Marilyn Manson Richard Nixon Tonya Harding OJ Simpson Fidel Castro (Cuba) Camilla Parker Bowles Al Capone Marie Antoinette Jack Ruby John Gotti Linda Tripp

17 Journal: Public Punishment - 2/21
Hester is sentenced to wear the "A" on her bosom for the rest of her life AND to stand for three hours on the scaffold, subject to the ridicule of the townspeople. Is public humiliation an appropriate punishment for Hester? Does it work? Does it work in the modern day? ADD THIS TO YOUR TABLE OF CONTENTS

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