The Scarlet Letter,Level 2

The Scarlet Letter,Level 2

Audio CD(Abridged)

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Overview

This classic series of plays, novels, and stories has been adapted, in a friendly format, for students reading at a various levels.

Reading Level: 4-8

Interest Level: 6-12

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781578155224
Publisher: Media Books, L. L. C.
Publication date: 04/28/2001
Series: Classics Collection Series
Edition description: Abridged
Product dimensions: 5.35(w) x 7.54(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts. He was educated at the Bowdoin College in Maine (1821-24). Between the years 1825 and 1836 Hawthorne worked as a writer and contributor to periodicals. His first novel, Fanshawe, appeared anonymously at his own expense in 1828. In 1842 he married Sophia Peabody, an active participant in the Transcendentalist movement. His marriage to Sophia provided the inspiration for the noble character of Hester Prynne. He died in 1864.

Date of Birth:

July 4, 1804

Date of Death:

May 19, 1864

Place of Birth:

Salem, Massachusetts

Place of Death:

Plymouth, New Hampshire

Education:

Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, 1824

Read an Excerpt

Scarlet Letter, The

1
The Prison Door
A THRONG OF BEARDED MEN, IN SAD-COLORED GARMENTS and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods, and others bareheaded, was assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak and studded with iron spikes.
The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison. In accordance with this rule, it may safely be assumed that the forefathers of Boston had built the first prison house somewhere in the vicinity of Cornhill almost as seasonably as they marked out the first burial ground, on Isaac Johnson's lot and round about his grave, which subsequently became the nucleus of all the congregated sepulchres in the old churchyard of King's Chapel. Certain it is that,some fifteen or twenty years after the settlement of the town, the wooden jail was already marked with weather-stains and other indications of age which gave a yet darker aspect to its beetle-browed and gloomy front. The rust on the ponderous iron-work of its oaken door looked more antique than anything else in the New World. Like all that pertains to crime, it seemed never to have known a youthful era. Before this ugly edifice, and between it and the wheel-track of the street, was a grass plot, much overgrown with burdock, pigweed, apple peru, and such unsightly vegetation, which evidently found something congenial in the soil that had so early borne the black flower of civilized society, a prison. But on one side of the portal, and rooted almost at the threshold, was a wild rosebush, covered, in this month of June, with its delicate gems, which might be imagined to offer their fragrance and fragile beauty to the prisoner as he went in, and to the condemned criminal as he came forth to his doom, in token that the deep heart of Nature could pity and be kind to him.
This rosebush, by a strange chance, has been kept alive in history; but whether it had merely survived out of the stern old wilderness, so long after the fall of the gigantic pines and oaks that originally overshadowed it--or whether, as there is fair authority for believing, it had sprung up under the footsteps of the sainted Ann Hutchinson, as she entered the prison door--we shall not take upon us to determine. Finding it so directly on the threshold of our narrative, which is now about to issue from that inauspicious portal, we could hardly do otherwise than pluck one of its flowers, and present it to the reader. It may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom that may be found along the track, or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow.
All new material in this edition is copyright © 1989 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

Table of Contents

1. The Prison-Door. 2. The Market Place. 3. The Recognition. 4. The Interview. 5. Hester at her Needle. 6. Pearl. 7. The Governor's Hall. 8. The Elf-Child and the Minister. 9. The Leech. 10. The Leech and His Patient. 11. The Interior of a Heart. 12. The Minister's Vigil. 13. Another View of Hester. 14. Hester and the Physician. 15. Hester and Pearl. 16. A Forest Walk. 17. The Pastor and His Parishioner. 18. A Flood of Sunshine. 19. The Child at the Brookside. 20. The Minister in a Maze. 21. The New England Holiday. 22. The Procession. 23. The Revelation of the Scarlet Letter. 24. Conclusion.

Reading Group Guide

1. Hawthorne came from a long line of Puritans (one of his forefathers was a judge during the Salem witch trials), and Puritan beliefs about subjects like guilt, repression, original sin, and discipline inform the book on every level. What is your impression of how the Puritan worldview is taken up and treated by Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter?"

2. Kathryn Harrison, in her Introduction to this volume, asserts that Hester Prynne can be seen in many ways as the first great modern heroine in American literature. Do you agree?

3. Dimmesdale is in many ways as central a character as Hester in the novel; for you as a reader, is he equally important to the story?

4. The highly charged symbolism of The Scarlet Letter is one of its most distinctive features. Discuss the central symbol of the story - the scarlet letter itself. What does it signify? How does it function in the novel? How does its meaning change over time?

5. Critics have sometimes disagreed about whether Hawthorne condones or condemns the adultery of Hester and Dimmesdale in the novel. Can either view be supported? Which do you feel is the case?

6. Describe and discuss the character of Roger Chillingworth in the novel. What does he represent in terms of the larger themes explored by the book?

7. How does Hester change over time in the novel-and how does she change in the eyes of the society around her?

8. The final scaffold scene brings the various themes, characters, and plotlines woven throughout the novel to a powerful conclusion. Describe your response to this scene, and to the disputed event that occurs near its end.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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The Scarlet Letter,Level 2 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Scarlett Letter is about a woman named Hester Pyrnne who is forced to live with the fact that she had a child out of wedlock. Although she is faced with many trials along her journey throughout life she still overcomes all of them to become a good mother to her child. This novel portrays many things; one of the more important things, which it portrays, is the love Hester shows toward Pearl (her daughter) throughout the entire novel. She may be sorry for her actions forever, but one thing is for sure, she will never be sorry for the consequences of those actions. The main theme of this novel is a tale of judgement, shame and redemption.
realistTheorist on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hawthorne takes us to puritanical New England, where a woman is outcast and forced to wear a letter "A" to mark her crime of adultery. However, the story is not primarily about evil social norms. Rather, it is an exploration of openness and guilt. The woman refuses to name her lover. She allows him to escape social stigma -- or much worse. On the face of things, it seems he did better of the two, but Hawthorne explores the notion that a life of constant pretense can wear a person down. How much more carefree is the woman who has nothing more to hide. Self-esteem is tied to openness about oneself. A man with much to hide, who keeps pretending to be something he isn't, constantly chips away at his sense of self. The woman's lover is tormented by this lack of visibility to other people. "Thou little knowest what a relief it is", he confides to her, "after the torment of a seven years' cheat, to look into an eye that recognises me for what I am! Had I one friend--or were it my worst enemy!--to whom, when sickened with the praises of all other men, I could daily betake myself, and be known as the vilest of all sinners, methinks my soul might keep itself alive thereby." Hawthorne makes his message explicit: "Be true!... Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred." Surely, interesting advice to ponder: honesty about your worst, sets you free from pandering to the expectations of others. In short: be yourself. It's a short, novel with a narrow theme, but well plotted, well written and well worth reading.
cranmergirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sad to say, I did not particularly enjoy this well-known classic. The story and symbolism were interesting but actually trudging through the book was oh so tedious! One thing I did like was the old English spoken by the characters. All in all, I would have preferred a much condensed version of this book.
lit13 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An extremely well-written book about the tensions that rock a small puritan town. Though it may not be to everyone's taste, it is a definite must-read for any fan of the classics.
mdtwilighter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of Hester Prynne, a woman who came over to Boston in it's infancy waiting for her husband to follow her from Europe. However, her life changes forever when she becomes pregnant long before her husband reaches the new world. In the strict Puritan world of 17th century Boston Hester must be punished. The town leaders decide to make her wear a scarlet letter A on her clothing, so that everyone will know her crime. The book looked at the religious aspects of that time and painted a vivid picture of life back then. I enjoyed the author's style of narration, Hawthorne writes like he is in the audience with the reader. Maybe a bit predictable, but definitely worth the read. It's an iconic classic that deserves to be.
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the most moving books I've read. Hester is carrying a child. Hester is not married and won't reveal the name of the father. In a time ruled by severe church authorities, this is not to be tolerated. The courage of Hester, her dignity, make her heroic to me. The father of the child is despicably weak, unable to own up to his sin and willing that she should be the one to suffer. A good example to show that if Christ is not ruling the heart it does no good for a person to have the appearance of godliness.
Bre-animal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My favorite most favorite book ever. Thank you Coach for making us reading it in the 11th grade.
LaPhenix on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the easier to read classics that I've encountered thus far. I enjoyed the imagery and the symbolism in the book, but the slow parts were a struggle to get through.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this novel. I enjoy the time period in which it was set, and I also really like the characters. Each character was dealing with so much. Hawthorne wrote the characters' developments compellingly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Scarlet Letter is about a young woman by the name of Hester Pyrnne and she gives birth to a child out of wedlock. At the begging f the book it seems to be as if she is a lonely,reserved women but yet she was a very hard working and willing person. Hawthorne stresses that she when times get hard, she can always pull herself out and she holds her head up the whole way. From th reader's point we see and feel Hester's pain and we also see and understand how she holds her head up high and pulls herself through any and every obstacle that may or has come alone in her life time. As a child she was forsed to wear a scarlet 'A' o her bosom and has to wea it for the rest of he life.At the time Hester is tkaen back to prison she is almost forsed to give up her daughter, Pearl. Not too long after that Pearl became ill and a doctor miracalously had a cure for it. Being the perosn Hester is she try her damnedest to stay with he in her ime of need.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the novel The Scarlett Letter Hester Pyrnne gives birth to a child out of wedlock leading everyone in the town to look down upon her. In the beginning of the novel Hawthorne portrays Hester as a lonely, reserved woman and later she is portrayed as an independent, outgoing and strong-willed person. This novel tells the many understandings and feelings of the human race. Hawthorne proves that anyone, even in their most difficult times, can overcome anything if they believe they can. A novel should draw the reader into the story as though they too are a character in the book. In The Scarlett Letter the reader feels as though they are on of the town's people observing Hester's pain. Hester is told to stand on a pedestal to confess her sin to the townspeople and when she refuses to answer who the father of her child is they force her to wear a scarlett 'A' on her bosom for the rest of her life. Hester is then taken back to prison and is threatened to give up her child, Pearl. Pearl became ill and a doctor supplied her with a draught to cure her illness, but would not administer the draught himself for fear that Pearl would have fatherly aspirations from such a gesture. Hester slowly begins to stop taking care of herself because she sees no reason to go on, but then she realizes that Pearl needs her and so she continues to raise Pearl as best she can. Hester may be sorry for her actions forever, but she will never be sorry for the consequence of those actions and that is Pearl. The main theme of this novel is a tale of judgement, shame and redemption.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I GIVE THIS A BOOK A FIVE STAR RATING BECAUSE IT IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS IN THE WORLD.