Novel Study: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

English 3P Honors Unit Goal:

After reading and analyzing Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, students will write an essay that analyzes the author’s use of symbolism and archetypes to convey Romantic theme(s) and aesthetic features.

Hester Prynne

“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.” Chapter I, ‘The Prison-Door’

Essential Questions:

  1. What are the DARK ROMANTICS’ views on the proper relationship between society and the individual?
  2. How does Hawthorne reveal ROMANCTIC IDEALS in his novel, The Scarlet Letter?

Romanticism, intuition, Transcendentalism, Dark Romanticism, Romantic Hero, Mood, Setting, Diction, Theme, metaphor, imagery , tone, personification, symbolism, paradox, civil disobedience, allegory, parable, archetype.

Nathaniel_Hawthorne_by_Brady,_1860-64Objective 1: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Historical Context

I.  Pre-Reading: Background Video

II.  Reading: “Hawthorne on His Way Home” by Lawrence Raab in The New Yorker Magazine

III.  Post Reading: Summarize Historical Context of The Scarlet Letter

Objective 2: Explore Symbolism Scarlett Leter Book Coverand Theme in Romantic Literature

By reading and annotating Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter, students will be able to 1.) evaluate philosophical attitudes and views of American Romantic literature and 2.) identify Romantic features of natural interconnectedness, individuality, spiritual self-reliance, 3.) analyze the use of symbolism and archetype to convey theme.

I. Pre-readingBackground Video

II. Reading: The Scarlet Letter Notes, LitCircles Handouts Analysis Map

III. Post-Reading: Peace, Love, and Puritanism, The Scarlet Letter in The Atlantic Monthly,  Socratic Seminar Guide