The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
1. What does the narrative suggest about the way Hester and Dimmesdale choose to deal with their guilt? (Consider who lives, who dies, and why.)
2. The scarlet letter is a symbol of shame assigned to Hester. However, she repeatedly refuses to remove the letter later on. Why is this? (Hint: it has to do with the identity society has imposed upon her vs. the identity Hester has created for herself.)
3. Discuss the link between Pearl and the scarlet letter. How does Pearl embody everything the scarlet letter is said to represent?
4. There are three distinct scenes throughout the novel that take place at the scaffold. Analyze the significance of these three scenes in terms of theme, symbolism, and plot structure.
5. What is the purpose of the opening Custom-House essay? Consider the novel’s framework, thematic elements, and historical context. (Alternatively: the Custom-House opening is the most important part of the novel. Please discuss.) (GOOD LUCK.)