The Scarlet Letter

Use a teaching guide that includes a synopsis of the plot of The Scarlet Letter, historical commentary about Puritan New England, and suggested activities.
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1. Write a paragraph about a recent event using Hawthorne's writing style and language. @

2. Explore parallel situations between the Reverend Dimmesdale and contemporary political or religious leaders you may have read about in the news. # @

3. Read some of Hawthorne's other novels (romance) and compare them with The Scarlet Letter. @

4. Read novels by Hawthorne's contemporaries and compare them with The Scarlet Letter. @

5. Leo Marx has written a Foreword to the Signet Classic edition. Read this and drawing upon some of the ideas which you find particularly helpful and interesting, write an introduction of your own. @

6. Read some literary criticism dealing with The Scarlet Letter and write a summary from at least four sources. @

7. Read Richard Armour's parody of The Scarlet Letter in The Classics Reclassified (McGraw-Hill, 1960) and write your own parody of one of the characters or situations in The Scarlet Letter. *


Other Literature Dealing with the Themes and Concepts of The Scarlet Letter

Cormier, Robert. The Chocolate War. # @ Pantheon, 1974. Dell, 1986.
Hall, Lynn. Sticks and Stones. # Follett, 1972. Dell, 1972.
Miklowitz, Gloria D. Good-bye Tomorrow. + # Delacorte, 1987. Dell, 1988.
Sebestyn, Ouida. Words by Heart. + # Little, Brown, 1979. Bantam, 1983.

Breaking Society's Rules about Sexual Relationships
Crutcher, Chris. Chinese Handcuffs. @ Greenwillow, 1989.
Irwin, Hadley. Abby, My Love. # Macmillan, 1985. New American Library, 1986.
Luger, Harriet. Lauren. + # Viking, 1979. Dell, 1981.
Paton, Alan. Too Late the Phalarope. @ Scribner, 1953.
Rylant, Cynthia. A Kindness. # Orchard Watts, 1988. Dell, 1990.

Appearance versus Reality
Brooks, Bruce. The Moves Make the Man. # @ Harper & Row, 1984. Harper Keypoint, 1987.
Duncan, Lois. Killing Mr. Griffin. + @ Little, Brown, 1978. Dell, 1979.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "The Minister's Black Veil." # @ From The Celestial Railroad and Other Stories. NAL/Signet Classic, 1963.
Kerr, M.E. Gentlehands. + # Harper Junior, 1978. Bantam, 1982.
Knowles, John. A Separate Peace: A Novel. # @ Dell, 1959.
Stoker, Bram. Dracula. @ NAL/Signet Classic, 1978.
Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. @ NAL/Signet Classic, 1962.

Love Triangles
Bronte, Emily. Jane Eyre. # @ NAL/Signet Classic, 1971.
Pasternak, Boris. Doctor Zhivago. @ Pantheon, 1958. Ballantine, 1986.
Shakespeare, William. Othello: The Moor of Venice. @ NAL/ Signet Classic, 1962.

Religious Communities
Kerr, ME What I Really Think of You.+ # Harper Junior, 1982. New American Library, 1983.
Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. # @ Viking, 1952. Penguin, 1976.
Speare, Elizabeth. The Witch of Blackbird Pond. + # Houghton Mifflin, 1958. Dell, 1978.

Single Parenthood
Koertge, Ron. Where the Kissing Never Stops. + # Little, Brown, 1987. Dell, 1988.
Lowery, Lois. Rabble Starkey. + # Houghton Mifflin, 1987. Dell, 1988.
Mazer, Norma Fox. Silver. + Morrow Junior, 1988.
Voigt, Cynthia. A Solitary Blue. + # Macmillan, 1983. Fawcett, 1987.

Puritan New England
Fleischman, Paul. Saturnalia. + # Harper & Row, 1990.
Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. # @ Viking, 1952. Penguin, 1976.
Spears, Elizabeth. The Witch of Blackbird Pond. + # Houghton Mifflin, 1958. Dell, 1978.


Elizabeth POE, Assistant Professor of English Education at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, taught high school English for 13 years in Jefferson County, Colorado. She received her B.A. in English and psychology from Pitzer College in Claremont, California, her M A. in English from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

She is currently the President-Elect of NCTE's Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN), Book Review Editor for The ALAN Review, and Co-Director of the West Central Wisconsin Writing Project, an affiliate of the National Writing Project. She is author of Focus on Sexuality: A Reference Handbook (ABC-CLIO, 1990), a nonfiction book for teens which includes extensive annotated bibliographies of young adult literature dealing with teenage sexuality.


Currently Associate Professor of Education at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, Arthea (Charlie) J. S. Reed has taught for 20 years on both the high school and college level. She received her A.B. (Bethany College) and her M.S. (Southern Connecticut State University) in English and her Ph.D. (Florida State University) in Teacher Education. In addition to teaching, Charlie was The ALAN Review (NCTE) editor from 1984 to 1990 and served as Co-Director of the Mountain Area Writing Project (a part of the National Writing Project) from 1982 to 1988. She is also the author of Reaching Adolescents: Young Adult Books and the Schools (Holt, 1985) and Comics to Classics: A Parent s Guide to Books for Teens and Preteens (IRA, 1988).

Serving for nearly 20 years as Chair of the Secondary English Commitee, Department of Language Education at the University of Georgia, W. Geiger (Guy) Ellis received his A.B. and M.Ed. degrees from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and his Ed.D. from the University of Virginia. For over 25 years Guy has been active in teaching adolescent literature in the classroom and in training future teachers in its use, lecturing and writing ostensibly on the subject. He developed and edited The ALAN Review from 1978 to 1984, changing its focus from a newsletter to a fully refereed journal with an emphasis on articles with research and instructional significance. His research has had heavy emphasis on the content of literature instruction.

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