SL QW #1 • What do you think about the symbol of the rose by the prison door? • Anything else strike you as we read these two chapters out loud? • What seems foreboding? Any comments on Hawthornes writing style?
SL QW #2 • Is public humiliation an effective deterrent to undesired behavior? This is still done today; names in newspapers, etc. Should it be done on a grander scale? Is it effectrive in Hester’s time? What views did the various townsfolk have?
SL QW #3 Is Hester Prynne one of the 1st American Heroines? Is her silent suffering truly heroic? Does the character of Pearl seam realistic? Is she too old for her age? Is she forced to grow up too early? Does her anger seem like a realistic trait? Why or why not?
SL QW #4 • Is The Scarlet Letter a protofeminist novel? Had Hester not been a woman, would she have received the same punishment? When Hester undertakes to protect other women from gender-based persecution, can we interpret her actions as pointing to a larger political statement in the text as a whole? • Describe Chillingworth's "revenge." Why does he choose to torture Dimmesdale and Hester when he could simply reveal that he is Hester's husband? What does this imply about justice? About evil?
SL QW #5 • Consider this . . . “ [Men who have unconfessed sins] shrink from displaying themselves black and filthy in the view of men; because, thenceforward, no good can be achieved by them; no evil of the past be redeemed by better service.”--Arthur Dimmesdale Is Dimmesdale right? Can individuals who are known to have committed a crime or moral wrong contribute good to society? Explain. • This novel makes extensive use of symbols. Discuss the difference between the Puritans' use of symbols (the meteor, for example) and the way that the narrator makes use of symbols. Do both have religious implications? Do symbols foreshadow events or simply comment on them after the fact? How do they help the characters understand their lives, and how do they help the reader understand Hawthorne's book?