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Teachers and educators: Get the most from your time in the classroom when you use this lesson plan for Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. This lesson plan will help you assist your students explore the complexities of Hawthorne's characters as well as his primary themes of guilt, innocence, sin, and identity. Examples of guided discussion and study questions from this lesson plan include the following:
- In The Scarlet Letter, what was the relationship between Hester and Roger Chillingworth? Hester had married Roger Prynne prior to coming to America. He loved her, but she didn't love him. It was a marriage they both hoped would work out, but she was never satisfied with the relationship. They were separated on the way to the colony, and when he didn't show up for a year, she assumed he was dead. He appeared in Boston on the day of her public punishment and assumed the name Chillingworth.
- What convinced the Governor to let Hester keep Pearl? Both Hester and Mr. Dimmesdale told the governor that Pearl was a constant reminder to Hester of her sin and that Hester was capable of being a good mother since she could pass along to Pearl the lessons she had learned since she had sinned.
- What was the other view of Hester? Hester had taken to doing good works, living a simple, pure life. The people of Boston were beginning to recognize her as a person instead of just a sinner. Some even were beginning to say the "A" was for "Able."
- How did Rev. Mr. Dimmesdale's attitude change after he decided to leave Boston with Hester? He felt better and had more energy. He also has a real temptation to do some very bad things like "uttering certain blasphemous suggestions . . . regarding the communion supper" or teaching some wicked words to Puritan children.
- What happens to Hester, Pearl and Roger Chillingworth? Chillingworth died within a year, leaving his property to Pearl, who we are led to believe married and lived on that property in England. Hester vanished with Pearl, but later she supposedly returned to Boston to finish her penance sentence there. She supposedly died there years later and was buried, we assume next to Dimmesdale.
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