What is the name of the introductory chapter in which the author relates how he found the “true” story?
The Custom House
What two things does the author find while working in the Custom House?
The scarlet letter and documents of the story
What happened when the author put the letter on his breast?
It felt like red-hot iron, so he let it fall to the floor
When does the story take place?
1642-1649 (about seven years)
Where is the story set?
Who wrote “The Scarlet Letter”?
What type of government was common in the colonies?
What is a theocracy?
a government where the civil laws are based (in whole or in part) on religious laws; civil leaders are probably also important religious leaders
Describe the origins and specifics of Puritanism.
It began in England in the mid-1500s; there was a sect of Calvinists named after Swiss theologian John Calvin.
In 1600, the Puritans left England for which liberal society area?
What did the author’s grandfather, John Hathorne, do which made his decedent alter his last name out of embarrassment?
He was the presiding magistrate in the Salem Witch Trials in 1692
Where was the author born?
Where did the author go to college? Who were his classmates?
Bowdoin College in Maine; Franklin Pierce and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Where was the author appointed in 1839?
The Boston Custom House
To whom was the author engaged?
Which group of writers did the author join? Who were some notable members?
Transcendentalists; Thoreau, Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott
What government offices did the author occupy after 1846?
Surveyor of the Salem Custom House, US Consul to Liverpool, England
In which year was “The Scarlet Letter” written?
What is the definition of Puritanism?
The religious reform movement of the 16th and 17th centuries seeking to purify the Church of England
Where was the first permanent colony in New England established in 1620?
When did the Salem Witch Trials occur?
In the first chapter, what is Hester in prison for? What was the usual sentence?
What two things had to be built in the colonies above all?
A cemetery and a prison
What contrasts with the dismal prison door scene in the opening chapter?
A wild rose bush
What month is it when the story begins?
Who is Mistress Hibbins?
She is Governor Bellingham’s sister and a suspected witch
What is Hester’s punishment for the crime of adultery?
She must initially stand on the scaffold for three hours at noon, then wear a red “A” on her bosom for the rest of her life.
Hester had to wear an embroidered “A”. How would’ve the letter been usually applied?
Branding it upon the forehead
Who is the “misshapen scholar”?
Where had Hester and her husband moved to before coming to the New World?
Where would the center of activity be in the Puritan Colony be?
Who asks Dimmesdale to get Hester to reveal her lover?
John Wilson, his brother
Who is Hester’s jailer?
What are the two secrets that Hester keeps for most of the story?
Her lover’s name and Chillingworth’s idenity
Why does Hester hesitate about taking Chillingworth’s medicine?
It could be poisoned
What was the “unsightly vegetation”?
Is Chillingworth a medical doctor?
Who is Hester’s husband?
Give two reasons why Hester stays in the colony initially.
This was the scene of her guilt, and want to atone for her sin by staying; her lover is there, and doesn’t want his life to be destroyed
What is Hester’s profession?
How old is Pearl in the first chapters?
3-4 months old
What is Hester never asked to embroider?
What “new sense” came with the letter?
the hidden sin in others’ hearts
According to others, what is the letter made of?
When was Hester truly calm and safe?
when Pearl is asleep
What does Pearl do with wildflowers?
She throws them at her mother’s bosom
Who are the three men at the governor’s mansion?
Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, and Wilson
What does Gov. Bellingham try to replicate to English standards?
What is the “great lump” in the garden?
Who does Hester turn to for help in keeping custody of Pearl?
How does Pearl show kindness to Dimmesdale in the governor’s mansion?
She takes his hand and puts it against her cheek
Who tempts Hester outside of the governor’s mansion?
Who is the “leech”?
Someone with a secret should avoid who?
the intimacy of the physician
Which figure is Chillingworth associated with?
the devil, or the Black Man
During the night, who comes to the windows of the governor’s mansion?
Gov. Bellingham and Mistress Hibbins
Who dies on the night of the comet?
When was the night of the comet?
a night in early May
How does Dimmesdale punish himself?
scourging himself, fasting, and keeping all-night vigils
What was left at the scaffold the day after the comet?
Dimmesdale’s black glove
Why had “the scarlet letter had not done its office”?
Hester considered killing Pearl and herself, which would be more sin to add on.
When Pearl asks, what does Hester say is the reason she wears the letter?
the gold thread
Who is Apostle Eliot?
the first missionary to the Indians who used their language
Who does Dimmesdale go through the forest to see?
Who says “Give up this name…and make thyself another!”
Which places does Hester suggest fleeing to?
London, Germany, France, Italy
Hester is initially a self-enlisted _____.
Sister of Charity
What does Pearl do after Dimmesdale kisses her forehead?
she washes it off
What is the climatic Puritan holiday?
Which group of people are allowed to veer away from the Puritan laws? Who aren’t?
the seamen can break the laws, the Indians cannot
What does the Captain do to Pearl?
He tries to kiss her, then plays with a gold chain with her
What is the “Revelation”?
The father of Pearl
Who initially tries to help Dimmesdale to walk?
Does the narrator say explicitly that there is an “A” upon Dimmesdale’s breast?
What are the various tales of what occured at the end of the book?
There was an “A” upon Dimmesdale’s breast. They say it’s there because of self-inflicted torture, Chillingworth’s drugs and magic, or the sin making itself known. But some say that there was no “A” there.
Who dies about a year after the ending’s events?
What was distinct about the letters that Hester recieves later in life?
The seal on them is not English