Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Scarlet Letter By: Nathaniel Hawthorne

The story takes place in Boston, and is started off with the main character, Hester Prynne, being taken from the town prison to the center of the town with her infant daughter Pearl in her arms. Hester has the letter A above her breast. Hester is being punished for Adultery. Hester was sent to America by her husband, but he never arrived himself due to being lost at sea. As she was waiting for her husband to arrive she had an affair. We do not know who her lover is at the beginning of the story, and due to her crime she is being publicly humiliated and is forced to wear the Letter A. In the crowd we learn that an onlooker is her missing husband, Roger Chillingworth and he plans on getting revenge. No one knows who he is except Hester, and she is sworn to secrecy. As years pass, Hester works as a seamstress to support herself and Pearl. They live away from everyone else, and are isolated. The community tries to take Pearl away from Hester but luckily they don't with the help of Arthur Dimmesdale, a young minister. Sadly, Arthur is facing some health issues and gets some extra help from Chillingworth who decides to stay with him for some round the clock help. Soon after Chillingworth starts to suspect that Arthur had something to do with Hester and does some investigating and he finds out its true. Knowing this Chillingworth does anything he can to make Arthur suffer and feel bad. Hester recognizes this and meets with Dimmesdale in the forest because she senses that Chillingworth knows she is going to reveal his identity to Dimmesdale. The lovers decide to flee to Europe so they can get away and be a family, but they soon find out that Chillingworth knows of their plan and booked to be on the ship also. After Dimmesdale's sermon he sees Hester and Pearl in the town. From their he confesses to everyone and shows everyone the scarlet letter on his flesh. He drops and dies. About a year later Chillingworth dies and Hester and Pearl leave Boston. When Hester dies she is buried next to Dimmesdale both sharing a tombstone that read the letter A.


Discussion Questions
1. Hester Prynne has to wear the letter A on her knowing that everyone can see it and judge her. How would you feel if you had to go through a similar situation. How would it effect you both physically and mentally? Explain.

2. Chilingworth tires to get revenge on Dimmesdale throughout the story. Do you feel if someone did something hurtful to you its ok to get revenge? Explain.

21 comments:

Matt P. 13-14 said...

2. I think it is okay to have some feelings of resentment if someone does something hurtful to you. However, Chilingworth takes this to the extreme making it his life mission to exact his revenge, which is not right. I do not think it is okay to try to take revenge if you are wronged because it will most likely be worse for you than if you just move on. I think that I would move on and try not to relive the past if someone wronged me.

Kelsey M. 11/12 said...

1) I feel like no matter what we do or wear, we are judged every day of our lives. You need to be confident enough with yourself to not let it bother you. I think that a very simliar situation to Hester's would be like a pregnant teen today. Everyone judges them when they see their belly, but no one really knows their situation. If I had to wear a scarlet letter, I would not let other people hurt me. I would think about the people that cared about me in my life and would not worry about others that were judgemental of me.

Kelsey M. 13-14 said...

1. I don't know if I would be able to deal with knowing people are judging me. I mean I know everyone judges others but you try to block it out but knowing that the attention is being draw specifically on me would make it harder to deal with I think.

allie s 11-12 said...

If i went through what Hester went through I'm not sure how i would take it. I know people judge, Its natural to look at people and see how they dress and how they act. Mentally i would probably become sad, but i think i would stay confident and get though it. I would try to be as happy as i was before. The person who judges you the most is yourself, and as long as you have confidence than nothing else with bother you (that much).

Nick E. 13-14 said...

2. I believe, depeding on the circumstances, revenge can be a very healthy thing for a person. I like to think of revenge as good closure in some aspects and cases. I personally have 'gotten revenge' on people who have hurt me and never felt any regret afterwards. Sometimes people need a taste of their own medicine. Think of it as a reality check, not torture.

Megan D. 11-12 said...

I agree with Kelsey; we are judged all day everyday. I think that it is important that people have enough confidence in their self to be able to function despite potential criticism or negative perceptions. You just have to develop the ability to live a productive and happy life despite other peoples' differing views or criticisms.
As for question two, revenge is never "ok". It just leads to more pain and suffering than was originally present. People need to be the bigger person and let things that happened in the past stay in the past.

Kali D. 13-14 said...

I agree with all of you. I think that people are always going to judge you no matter what, but we just have to block it out and try to be as confident as we can. I also agree that we are always going to be the one to judge ourselves the most. It's just human nature. I think revenge can also be a good thing but it depends to what extent you take it too. Causing too much damage is not really worth it I believe.

Betsy C 1314 said...

To answer the second question, I would want to get revenge on the person who hurt me. It would feel good at the time, but I would probably ultimately regret it.

Vanessa D. 13-14 said...

1.) I always think of Easy A when I think of this book :) But, to answer the question, I think I would be phisically drained just because hearing a bunch of mean and judgmental comments would just wear me out. Mentally though, when it comes to being judged, I usually just dust it off and stand tall with confidence.

Joe K. 11-12 said...

I really wouldnt care if I had to wear an "A" or some other symbol. To me, what other people think of you only matters if you allow it to matter. If weaing the A is my punishment then its my punishment and I have to deal with it. Outside opinions only matter if you listen to what others say and think. If your confident in yourself and comfortable in your own skin wearing the "A", it shouldnt effect you at all.

tyler k 13-14 said...

I feel that people should take whatever happens to them, whether negative or positive as experience and lesson. Stooping to the level of your enemy distracts you from what you can learn or take in from the pain or inconvenience they have left you with. I also believe retalliation is uneccesary since life itself tends to even things out with karma.

Mike B 13-14 said...

I dont think it is ever right to get revenge on someone. Revenge only causes more problems and it will never give you enough satisfaction to make it worth it. Getting revenge on another may just cause someone else to want revenge on you so the problem is not solved.

LibbyS5/6 said...

I don't think it's acceptable to to get revenge on someone. While it is a very natural human instinct, i do believe something is to be said for retaining your dignity and being the bigger person.

Rachel T said...

1. If I had to wear a scarlet letter around everywhere I went I probably wouldn't care that much. Everyone makes mistakes and you can't let your mistakes define who you are as a person. It's how a person deals with their mistakes that defines who they are. If someone takes responsibility for a crime or whatever then they come out looking like the bigger person.

Eric Y 13-14 said...

For question one, I believe i would only care about the opinions of people whom i respect. If my best friend disaproved then I ,ight be emotionally distraught but just some random person I probably wouldnt care nearly as much.

For two, I believe revenge is usually not the best way to go. I believe confrontation is the best strategy but i guess it would be difficult to confront Dimmesdale without revealing who CHillingworth really is.

Jacob B 11-12 said...

I do not believe revenge is the best way to deal with a situation. it will usually cause a person to be so consumed by revenge that they think of almost nothing else. Chillingworth takes this to the extreme making it his life goal and even dies when he can no longer take revenge because his life no longer has meaning.

Hannah L 13-14 said...

I believe that getting revenge is not the wisest thing someone can do. I believe that no matter how horrible a thing someone does to you, getting revenge will only bring pain back to you because I think that there is some way that will always make this happen, no matter what you try to do to keep it from happening.

SeanK56 said...

It depends how serious on the revenge. If your doing something that will improve yourself and not hurt them physically then yes. Doing something to make yourself better and making them regret there choice is something people do all the time.

Courtney R 5-6 said...

1) I would not feel very good about myself if I had to go through a situation like that. I would feel like everyone was judging me and secretly making fun of me and talking about me behind my back. I would constantly feel down.

2) I don't feel that it would be necessary for me to get revenge on someone if he did something hurtful to me. I feel as though that would just create a nasty cycle of revenge which isn't necessary at all. Sometimes it is just better to let some things go and move on.

Kali D. 13-14 said...

I believe that revenge can be good and bad. Maybe getting revenge is closure to some people and they need that in order to move on in situations.

Mrs. Sherwood said...

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