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Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Scarlet Letter Kristin Farr 11 th Grade English SOL 11.3: Students will read and analyze relationships among American literature,

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Presentation on theme: "Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Scarlet Letter Kristin Farr 11 th Grade English SOL 11.3: Students will read and analyze relationships among American literature,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Scarlet Letter Kristin Farr 11 th Grade English SOL 11.3: Students will read and analyze relationships among American literature, history, and culture a) Describe contributions of different cultures to the development of American literature a) Describe contributions of different cultures to the development of American literature c) Discuss American literature as it reflects traditional and contemporary themes, motifs, c) Discuss American literature as it reflects traditional and contemporary themes, motifs, universal characters, and genres universal characters, and genres 11.4 e) Analyze information from a text to draw conclusions 11.4 e) Analyze information from a text to draw conclusions This Powerpoint would primarily be used by the teacher as an in-class teaching tool, as a presentation to the whole class, with time being taken for students to discuss the questions posed on many of the slides. However, there are also numerous links that interested students would be able to explore on their own after the class presentation, such as the timelines and the extra biographical information on Hawthorne. Most of these links which are scattered through the slides would not be explored in class. Also, I think that closely reading excerpts is very important, and that is why many of the slides seem to have a lot of text on them, simply to allow to students to be able to quickly look at the same brief passages.

2 Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Scarlet Letter March 28, 2006

3 OBJECTIVES To obtain knowledge of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s life and background and how it affected his writing To obtain knowledge of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s life and background and how it affected his writing To understand the historical and social context in which The Scarlet Letter was written To understand the historical and social context in which The Scarlet Letter was written To identify key literary elements in the novel (setting, characters, mood, climax, symbols, themes) To identify key literary elements in the novel (setting, characters, mood, climax, symbols, themes) To analyze and discuss events throughout The Scarlet Letter and their implications and meanings To analyze and discuss events throughout The Scarlet Letter and their implications and meanings

4 OUTLINE I. Nathaniel Hawthorne (biographical information) II. Historical Context A. What was going on in America in 1850? B. Literary history 1. Brief look at the proceeding literary periods 1. Brief look at the proceeding literary periods a. Puritan writings b. Enlightenment c. Romanticism/Transcendentalism d. Subdivision of Romanticism: Gothic lit. 2. Influence of Trans/anti-Trans 2. Influence of Trans/anti-Trans III. Literary Elements A. Characters A. Characters B. Mood C. Climax D. Setting 1. Life in the mid 17 th century 1. Life in the mid 17 th century 2. Effect of his past on the novel (time and place) 2. Effect of his past on the novel (time and place) a. Puritan heritage b. Work at the Custom House frame story and the background of the Custom House E. Plot 1. Thinking about the events throughout the novel 1. Thinking about the events throughout the novel a. Chapters 1-8 a. Chapters 1-8 b. Chapters 9-15 c. Chapters F. Symbolism G. Themes

5 NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE HHHH aaaa wwww tttt hhhh oooo rrrr nnnn eeee '''' ssss L L L L iiii ffff eeee

6 Born July 4, 1804 in Salem, MA Born July 4, 1804 in Salem, MA Education- Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine (38 freshmen, 5 faculty members) Education- Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine (38 freshmen, 5 faculty members) Married Sophia Peabody in 1842 Married Sophia Peabody in 1842 Job at Custom House , Job at Custom House , Children 3 Children Moved to England, France, and Rome after Salem Moved to England, France, and Rome after Salem Died in 1864 Died in 1864 Do you want to learn more? Do you want to learn more?Do you want to learn more?Do you want to learn more?

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8 NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE “The Scarlet Letter is powerfully written but my writings do not, nor ever will, appeal to the broadest class of sympathies, and therefore will not obtain a very wide popularity.” -Hawthorne, after finishing the novel -Hawthorne, after finishing the novel

9 NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE As a literary artist… First American “pro writer”: college educated, familiar with the great European writers 4,000 copies of The Scarlet Letter sold in the first 10 days

10 OVERVIEW The Scarlet Letter tells the story of Hester Prynne who has committed adultery and must wear a scarlet "A" publicly as punishment. When her husband, whom she believed to be dead, suddenly reappears, he determines to discover the identity of the father of Hester's child, although Hester steadfastly refuses to reveal his identity. Through the use of rich symbolism and supernatural events, Hawthorne shows the destructive effects of guilt and revenge. The Scarlet Letter tells the story of Hester Prynne who has committed adultery and must wear a scarlet "A" publicly as punishment. When her husband, whom she believed to be dead, suddenly reappears, he determines to discover the identity of the father of Hester's child, although Hester steadfastly refuses to reveal his identity. Through the use of rich symbolism and supernatural events, Hawthorne shows the destructive effects of guilt and revenge.

11 HISTORICAL CONTEXT The Scarlet Letter was finished in 1850…

12 What was going on in America in 1850? HISTORICAL, SOCIAL, AND LITERARY EVENTS TIMELINE HISTORICAL, SOCIAL, AND LITERARY EVENTS TIMELINE HISTORICAL, SOCIAL, AND LITERARY EVENTS TIMELINE

13 HISTORICAL CONTEXT To what “period” of American Literature does Hawthorne belong?? Lets take a look at the h h h h h iiii ssss tttt oooo rrrr yyyy of American Literature…..

14 English Heritage (Elizabethan Age) English Heritage (Elizabethan Age) : Early Colonial period- Puritan writings, no distinctive American literature : Early Colonial period- Puritan writings, no distinctive American literature : Later Colonial period- Age of Reason/Enlightenment (Neoclassicism, Rationalism) : Later Colonial period- Age of Reason/Enlightenment (Neoclassicism, Rationalism)

15 HISTORICAL CONTEXT : American Renaissance/ Romanticism- slave narratives, inner feelings, the burden of a Puritan past, the rejection of Neoclassicism : American Renaissance/ Romanticism- slave narratives, inner feelings, the burden of a Puritan past, the rejection of Neoclassicism Transcendentalism was a part of this… Transcendentalism was a part of this…

16 HISTORICAL CONTEXT TRANSCENDENTALISM Boston-centered movement, led by Emerson, was an important force in New England circles Boston-centered movement, led by Emerson, was an important force in New England circles Human existence transcends the sensory realm Human existence transcends the sensory realm Formalism in favor of individual responsibility Formalism in favor of individual responsibility Belief in individual choice and consequence Belief in individual choice and consequence Focus on the positive Focus on the positive

17 HISTORICAL CONTEXT SUBDIVISION OF ROMANTICISM: GOTHIC LITERATURE, the “dark romantics”( ) -use of supernatural -use of supernatural -motif of double (both good and evil in -motif of double (both good and evil in characters; sin and evil does exist) characters; sin and evil does exist) -depression, dark forests -depression, dark forests -Poe, Hawthorne, Melville -Poe, Hawthorne, Melville -emphasis on symbolism (which we will discuss later) -emphasis on symbolism (which we will discuss later)

18 HISTORICAL CONTEXT In what ways can you see the Transcendentalist influence on Hawthorne? In what ways can you see the Transcendentalist influence on Hawthorne? (His wife was a Transcendentalist and had some effect on his literature, and he also became friends with Transcendentalists in Concord, Emerson and Thoreau) (His wife was a Transcendentalist and had some effect on his literature, and he also became friends with Transcendentalists in Concord, Emerson and Thoreau) How is he also ANTI- TRANSCENDENTALIST/ GOTHIC, as exhibited in the novel? How is he also ANTI- TRANSCENDENTALIST/ GOTHIC, as exhibited in the novel?

19 LITERARY ELEMENTS Characters Characters Mood Mood Setting Setting Plot Plot Symbolism Symbolism Themes Themes

20 LITERARY ELEMENTS:CHARACTERS Hester Prynne- protagonist, married to Chillingworth, adultery with Dimmesdale Hester Prynne- protagonist, married to Chillingworth, adultery with Dimmesdale

21 LITERARY ELEMENTS:CHARACTERS Arthur Dimmesdale- pastor, intense suffering, tragic figure Arthur Dimmesdale- pastor, intense suffering, tragic figure Roger Chillingworth- physician, old, evil, deformed, diabolical vengeance on Dimmesdale Roger Chillingworth- physician, old, evil, deformed, diabolical vengeance on Dimmesdale Pearl- beautiful daughter, sometimes imp-like, rebellious, inquisitive Pearl- beautiful daughter, sometimes imp-like, rebellious, inquisitive

22 LITERARY ELEMENTS:CHARACTERS Gov. Bellingham- based on actual governor of Boston Gov. Bellingham- based on actual governor of Boston John Wilson- eldest clergyman, based on actual English minister John Wilson- eldest clergyman, based on actual English minister Mistress Hibbins- based on figure executed for witchcraft, appears to know a great deal about the adultery Mistress Hibbins- based on figure executed for witchcraft, appears to know a great deal about the adultery

23 LITERARY ELEMENTS: MOOD The SOMBER, DARK mood is well- defined from the beginning: “sad-colored garments” of spectators, the prison door which is “heavily timbered and studded with iron spikes”

24 LITERARY ELEMENTS: SETTING 17 th century Puritanical New England (Mass.) What was America like then?

25 LITERARY ELEMENTS: SETTING Life in the Mid 1600s Boston was founded just 2 decades earlier Boston was founded just 2 decades earlier 1 st governor was John Winthrop, who governed based on religious and civic ideals 1 st governor was John Winthrop, who governed based on religious and civic ideals People were hardworking and devoted People were hardworking and devoted 1630s- Puritans established a number of settlements in Massachusetts 1630s- Puritans established a number of settlements in Massachusetts PURITANISM involved belief that the church of England was too much influenced by the Catholic church PURITANISM involved belief that the church of England was too much influenced by the Catholic church Strict code, on which people were expected to act and judged upon Strict code, on which people were expected to act and judged upon Rejected belief that divine authority is channeled through any one single person (i.e. the pope) Rejected belief that divine authority is channeled through any one single person (i.e. the pope) THEOCRACY- state governed by the church THEOCRACY- state governed by the church

26 LITERARY ELEMENTS: SETTING What aspects of this type of religious society can be seen in The Scarlet Letter? How do you think Hawthorne views this type of society?

27 How do you think his own past might have affected his writing? (Hawthorne was intrigued and even haunted by his past ancestors, and they appeared quite often in his fiction. Hawthorne’s past greatly influenced his writing of The Scarlet Letter.)

28 How did his life affect the writing of the novel? John Hathorne presided over the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 Major William Hathorne ( ) persecuted quakers 1. Influences on Hawthorne: Puritan background

29 How did his life affect the writing of the novel? 2) Salem- childhood, later work at the Custom House, as Surveyor of the Port “The Custom House” introduction creates a FRAME STORY This introduction gives an account of his experience as surveyor; he attacks the officials who connived in his dismissal… Like his heroine Hester, Hawthorne emerges from confrontation with a self-righteous society as an individual of integrity,passion, and moral superiority. This introduction gives an account of his experience as surveyor; he attacks the officials who connived in his dismissal… Like his heroine Hester, Hawthorne emerges from confrontation with a self-righteous society as an individual of integrity,passion, and moral superiority.

30 TTTT hhhh eeee C C C C uuuu ssss tttt oooo mmmm H H H H oooo uuuu ssss eeee

31 THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU’VE READ….. Literary Element: Plot

32 Chapters 1-8 By Mary Hallock Foote “ Hester on the Scaffold”

33 Chapters 1-8 How do you feel about what happens to Hester Prynne in the beginning? How do you feel about what happens to Hester Prynne in the beginning? What is her punishment? What do you think the magistrates are hoping to accomplish with this punishment? What is her punishment? What do you think the magistrates are hoping to accomplish with this punishment?

34 “One the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A.” THE PUNISHMENT THE PUNISHMENT

35 Chapters 1-8 “He was small in stature, with a furrowed visage which, as yet, could hardly be termed aged. There was a remarkable intelligence in his features, as of a person who had so cultivated his mental part that it could not fail to mould the physical to itself…one of this man’s shoulders rose higher than the other.” Who does she recognize in the crowd and how does she feel about it?

36 Chapters 9-15 How does Dimmesdale really feel about his role in the community? How does Dimmesdale really feel about his role in the community? What are the differences between Hester and Dimmesdale at the end, with her outward punishment and his inward punishment? What are the differences between Hester and Dimmesdale at the end, with her outward punishment and his inward punishment?

37 Chapters 9-15

38 Wood engraving by Barry Moser for the Pennyroyal Press from the January 1991 edition of the Essex Institute Historical Collection. Wood engraving by Barry Moser for the Pennyroyal Press from the January 1991 edition of the Essex Institute Historical Collection. Moser's image shows Arthur Dimmesdale with his eyes downcast and the scar of an "A" clearly visible on his chest.” Moser's image shows Arthur Dimmesdale with his eyes downcast and the scar of an "A" clearly visible on his chest.”

39 “..Though he were to step down from a high place, and stand beside thee on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, than to hide a guilty heart through life.” “..Though he were to step down from a high place, and stand beside thee on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, than to hide a guilty heart through life.”

40 Chapters 9-15 How does Chillingworth’s appearance change over the course of time? “The Eyes of the Wrinkled Scholar Glowed” from 1878 edition of the novel (Chillingworth called to prison cell as a healer and aid to Hester and Pearl)

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42 Chapters What do you think is the climax of the plot of the novel? Possibly the second scaffold scene, where Dimmesdale, Hester, and Pearl are all on the scaffold, divulging their secret in darkness….

43 What is the falling action after this?.....

44 Chapters The meaning of the letter was intended to isolate Hester from society. Given the way in which her life ends, did it accomplish what the magistrates intended? The meaning of the letter was intended to isolate Hester from society. Given the way in which her life ends, did it accomplish what the magistrates intended?

45 In the end, what character did you sympathize with the most and why?

46 LITERARY ELEMENT: SYMBOLISM IN THE NOVEL

47 SYMBOLISM Discuss the symbolism in the following objects in The Scarlet Letter. What implications are made through the use of these symbols?

48 SYMBOLISM Hester’s and Pearl’s Clothing “Her own dress was of the coarsest materials and the most sombre hue; with only that one ornament—the scarlet letter—which it was her doom to wear.” “The child’s attire, on the other hand, was distinguished by a fanciful, or, we might rather say, a fantastic ingenuity, which served, indeed, to heighten the airy charm that early began to develop itself in the little girl…”

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50 SYMBOLISM PEARL (the name) “Her Pearl!—For so had Hester called her; not as a name expressive of her aspect, which had nothing of the calm, white, unimpassioned lustre that would be indicated by the comparison. But she named the infant “Pearl,” as being of great price—purchased with all she had—her mother’s only treasure!”

51 SYMBOLISM The A! “It was so artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy, that it had all the effect of a last and fitting decoration to the apparel which she wore; and which was of a splendor in accordance with the taste of the age, but greatly beyond what was allowed by the sumptuary regulations of the colony.” “Not a stitch in that embroidered letter, but she has felt it in her heart.”

52 SYMBOLISM The Prison Gate and the Rose “But on one side of the portal, and rooted almost at the threshold, was a wild rosebush, covered, in this month of June, with its delicate gems…This rosebush…has been kept alive in history; but whether it had merely survived out of the stern old wilderness…It may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom that may be found along the track, or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow.”

53 SYMBOLISM The Leech “He gathered herbs here and there”

54 SYMBOLISM Can you think of any more?

55 MAJOR THEMES PURITAN MORALITY v. PASSION AND INDIVIDUALISM PURITAN MORALITY v. PASSION AND INDIVIDUALISM Self-trust v. accomodation to authority Self-trust v. accomodation to authority Conventional v. unconventional gender roles Conventional v. unconventional gender roles Guilt: sense of guilt forced by puritanical heritage/society Guilt: sense of guilt forced by puritanical heritage/society The penalties of isolation/ isolation because of self-cause and societal cause The penalties of isolation/ isolation because of self-cause and societal cause Patriarchal power Patriarchal power Belief in fate/free will Belief in fate/free will Impossibility of earthly perfection Impossibility of earthly perfection

56 MAJOR THEMES Perhaps his greatest interest was the human capacity on how sin operates on the inner workings of minds With the superstition common to his brotherhood, he fancied himself given over to a fiend, to be tortured with frightful dreams, and desperate thoughts, the sting of remorse, and despair of pardon; as a foretaste of what awaits him beyond the grave. But it was the constant shadow of my presence!--the closest propinquity of the man whom he had most vilely wronged!--and who had grown to exist only by this perpetual poison of the direst revenge! Yea, indeed!--he did not err!--there was a fiend at his elbow! A mortal man, with once a human heart, has become a fiend for his especial torment!" The unfortunate physician, while uttering these words, lifted his hands with a look of horror, as if he had beheld some frightful shape, which he could not recognize, usurping the place of his own image in a glass. With the superstition common to his brotherhood, he fancied himself given over to a fiend, to be tortured with frightful dreams, and desperate thoughts, the sting of remorse, and despair of pardon; as a foretaste of what awaits him beyond the grave. But it was the constant shadow of my presence!--the closest propinquity of the man whom he had most vilely wronged!--and who had grown to exist only by this perpetual poison of the direst revenge! Yea, indeed!--he did not err!--there was a fiend at his elbow! A mortal man, with once a human heart, has become a fiend for his especial torment!" The unfortunate physician, while uttering these words, lifted his hands with a look of horror, as if he had beheld some frightful shape, which he could not recognize, usurping the place of his own image in a glass. “smile with a sinister meaning”

57 THE END

58 Sources ages/early_nineteenth/hawthorne_na.html ages/early_nineteenth/hawthorne_na.html I used many more sources than this in my presentation, but I could not quickly find the links. I’m not sure how necessary having all the sources listed is, but I can get them to you if needed. Sorry 


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