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 This list of prompts may seem redundant when looked at as a whole, but consider that you will be asked to fully develop any ONE of these into a well-wrought.

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Presentation on theme: " This list of prompts may seem redundant when looked at as a whole, but consider that you will be asked to fully develop any ONE of these into a well-wrought."— Presentation transcript:


2  This list of prompts may seem redundant when looked at as a whole, but consider that you will be asked to fully develop any ONE of these into a well-wrought test essay with textual support.  These are the main CONCEPTS that I want you to glean from the novel, and you should, as ALWAYS, approach the novel with what you learned from Thomas Foster’s book.

3  Identify the sin of Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth, and trace the consequences of that sin on the person’s life and character.

4  It is hard to believe today that a community would treat one of its members the way in which Hester was treated. What features of the Boston society in 1642, however, make the actions of the Puritans quite understandable?

5  Despite the difference in clothing and customs, how do the psychological and moral aspects of this story make it very relevant for today’s readers?

6  Identify and explain at least three ways in which Hawthorne is part of the Romantic tradition and at least two ways in which he repudiates that tradition.

7  For what reasons would Hawthorne call his story a romance rather than a novel?

8  Name three characteristics of Hawthorne’s writing style and cite examples of each.

9  Identify and explain the symbolism for each of the following items: a. light and shadow b. the scaffold c. the rosebush and the weeds d. the letter “A” e. colors f. the forest g. the town

10  Explain Hawthorne’s view on human nature regarding passion.

11  According to Hawthorne, what are the moral consequences of sin and how does one become redeemed? Cite incidents from the story.

12  Show that Hester is one of literature’s first feminists using examples from the text.

13  Explain how the second scene on the scaffold serves as the novel’s climax.

14  Consider the characters Pearl, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth. How are their names symbolic?

15  Hawthorne uses historical characters—Governor Bellingham, John Wilson, and Mistress Hibbins—and true depictions of Puritan society and beliefs to add authenticity to his work. Explain the effects that these elements make.

16  Compare Hester’s scarlet letter to Dimmesdale’s letter.

17  Describe Hawthorne’s use of dramatic irony, and cite examples for support.

18  How does Hester’s attitude change from when she emerges from jail to the last scene of the novel? What major events assist in her transformation?

19  Do you believe that humans create their own destiny (future), or are they merely following a path that is controlled by God? Relate your answer to The Scarlet Letter, using textual evidence to support your claim.

20  Wearing the scarlet letter was intended to isolate Hester Prynne from society and to call attention to her sin. Given the way in which Hester’s life ends, do you think that the scarlet letter accomplished what the magistrates intended? Explain with textual support.

21  Discuss the intended or unintended effect of the numbers that were chosen to be included in the novel and how their religious significances impact the novel’s purpose. Use examples.

22  Discuss the idea that one should “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” from the stand point of any of the main characters in the novel. How does that saying hold as true or not hold as true with regard to this plot.

23  Discuss the theme of Appearance versus Reality as it applies to the novel. What is the significance of using this theme as opposed to the GAZILLION others that could have been used? Use textual examples.

24  What effect does Pearl have on Dimmesdale? What role, if any, does she play in bringing about his confession? Use textual support.

25  Hawthorne came from a long line of Puritans and their Puritan beliefs about subjects like guilt, repression, original sin (we are all born with sin and are destined to commit sin), and discipline. Take one of these elements, guilt, repression, original sin or discipline, and discuss how it is developed in Hawthorne’s novel. Use textual support.

26  The scarlet letter itself is one of the most weighted symbols in the novel. Discuss how it is central to the story, what it signifies, how it functions and how its meaning changes throughout the novel. Use textual support.

27  Discuss how the rose bush is a symbol that is central to the story, what it signifies, how it functions and how it carries more than one meaning throughout the novel. Use textual support.

28  Argue that Hester Prynne can be or cannot be one of the first examples of a great modern heroine in American literature. Give textual support.

29  Critics sometimes disagreed about whether Hawthorne condones or condemns the adultery of Hester Prynne and Dimmesdale in the novel. Can either view be supported? Give textual support.

30  Describe and discuss the character of Roger Chillingworth in the novel. What does he represent in terms of larger themes explored by the book?

31  How does Hester change over time in the novel – and how does she change in the eyes of society around her? What about her character would explain her decision that was discussed in the conclusion of the novel?

32  Discuss how the novel coincides with the idea that one poor decision in life can lead to a lifetime of regret, and relate this to a real life example of how the idea still holds true today. Use textual support.

33  Discuss the theme of “You reap what you sow” as it applies to this novel and how the same theme would be applicable in life today. Use textual support.

34  Both Hester and Dimmesdale participated in a procession where they were “vacant” from their surroundings. Explain what the circumstances were, how they were vacant, and what this said about their characters. Also, argue whether or not one or more of the characters experienced a “vacancy” throughout the entire “procession” of the novel. Use textual support.

35  Parallel the characters of Dimmesdale and Pearl and talk about Hawthorne’s attempts to clue the reader in on their relationship throughout the novel. What stylistic “tricks” did he employ to convey his message? Use textual support.

36  The quote: “She determined to redeem her error, so far as it might be possible. Strengthened by years of hard and solemn trial, she felt herself no longer inadequate to cope with Roger Chillingworth…”  Compare the two characters with regards to their strengths and weaknesses and how they both can be argued to have suffered for years.

37  Discuss the author’s use of irony throughout the novel. This is rather broad, so I would suggest choosing two examples from the text and fully developing the explanations of each.

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