The Scarlet Letter
Choose one of the
following essay topics and write a well organized, well supported, and
’s use of
opposition in The Scarlet Letter.
Analyze the relationship between Hester, Dimmesdale, Pearl, and Chillingworth
through the foils formed between them. In addition to character foils,
’s use of
opposition (i.e. the outer scarlet A vs. the inner A, civilization vs. wilderness). How does
use of opposition contribute to the novel as a whole? This is a large topic, so begin with the big picture and then focus in on one area.
the symbolism of the scarlet letter in Hawthorne’s
novel. Discuss how the symbol frames the novel, how the symbol develops
throughout the novel, and the impact of the letter on the characters in
the novel. Discuss the relationship between Hester’s identity and the
scarlet letter. In addition to Hester’s fabric A, be sure to discuss the
meteor, Dimmesdale’s mark, and the personified
Hawthorne’s presentation of
the nature of evil. What is the role of “The Black Man” in the novel? How
are the characters impacted by evil? Who is truly evil in the novel? What
are the causes of evil? How does the Puritan conception of sin help root
out evil or encourage evil? Discuss the intertwining of evil with actual
good acts and the hidden evil behind the façade of respectability. Be sure
to discuss the roles of Mistress Hibbins, Pearl,
Chillingworth, Hester, and Dimmesdale and how each is an embodiment of
evil, misconception of evil, opposite of evil, etc.
Hawthorne’s theme of sin,
knowledge and the human condition in The
Scarlet Letter. Discuss how sin destroys the lives of Hester and
Dimmesdale and, in a sense, how it forces them to improve their lives. How
does knowledge, gained after sin, help or harm the characters in the novel?
Discuss the Puritan conceptions of sin and the human condition. In the
final scenes of the novel, do Dimmesdale’s
actions show that all humans have the potential to sin so must we punish
sin severely and repress sin, or is sin inherent to human nature so must
we reconcile our sinful actions with more righteous actions and strive to
live a better life?
Prewriting: Wednesday, October 19
First Draft: Friday, October
Second Draft: Wednesday, October 26