The Scarlet Letter,Level 2

The Scarlet Letter,Level 2

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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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: 9780451526083
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/28/1999
Series: Signet Classics Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 4.24(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 1 Year

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


Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, 1824

Read an Excerpt

Scarlet Letter, The

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 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fang? Are you okay?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*hums dark side by kelly clarkson*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*she raises her hand proudly.* Me! xD And I give partial credit to Fang.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am bisexual but guys treat me like garbage
detweilermom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The reason I gave this book a Three out of five stars is because I listened to it on audio and I didn't like the way they stopped each chapter and said the chapter, who read it and who the publisher was ( I had read this in high school and I will say that I enjoyed it much more this way through audio. Mary Woods did an excellent job of reading it (she is also the narrator of the Sue Grafton Alphabet Mysteries). Worth the listen. I think I got it free from
amandacb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At first, in high school, I resisted enjoying the book, mainly because I considered it dry and tedious. However, when I re-read it in college, it's actually quite fascinating since so many different literary techniques may be applied to it. It's has many facets and layers to uncover. Skip the intro "custom house" part, though.
Alina100 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a required reading in high school. The scarlet Letter is a book that is considered to be one of the most famous books of literature. This is not a piece of literature that is easy to read, and I understand why ninth graders have a hard time understanding it. It is the language that makes it so unique, yet still actual.
jackkane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hawthorne has the amazing talent of expanding two sentences into two pages. Whereas Hemingway uses repetition as a literary device, Hawthorne just repeats. Had Hawthorne stuck only to dialogue, 'The Scarlet Letter' could have been a decent short story. Instead we have a hysterical melodrama sprawling over 200 smoldering pages. The characters are flat and meant to be flat - because they are archetypes rather than real human beings. The heavy-handedness of Hawthorne's symbolism hints at why the book is so ubiquitous in America's high schools.The novel's best feature is its tone - Hawthorne's writing flows soothingly and pleasantly.The plot is hard to take seriously, but then, clearly the plot isn't the point. Hawthorne's wanted to write a porn novel and that's what he wrote.Unpleasant reminders of the barbarity of the 19th century confront the reader at every page. In 'The Scarlet Letter' women ought to know their place, the clerics who preach obeisance possess infinite wisdom, and the Indians are savages. But then, perhaps these themes are another explanation for the school boards' obsession with Hawthorne's novel.One wonders why 'romance' novels from the 19th century are considered real literature, but authors like Chandler and Pratchett are consigned to the 'genre' shelves.My condolences if you have to read 'The Scarlet Letter' for school. This novel is strictly for lovers of melodrama, and insomniacs.
rameau on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow. Where has this been my whole life? I still have a lot more to read, but this may be the greatest American novel. Rich in language, but tight in construction. My sister said this was what an American Dostoyevsky would have been like, and I agree with her. This is one of the most intense novels about sin, guilt, and redemption, that is, about things that really matter.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago im listining to loose ypur self
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I was excitedly anticipating the reading of the book for my AP Literature class. Although once I began reading it, I was dulled and could not wait for it to be over. Hathorne's endless descriptions and the predictable plot are enough to make someone a Rip Van Winkle. After reading the first few chapters, I predicted the entire plot. The book coincidentally ended exactly how I thought it would! Do not waste your time reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Humanity is at its very best tainted with sin. Our shortcomings, misdoings, and pride are all too obvious to those around us. In this compelling tale of woe, Hawthorne invites readers to closely inspect their own souls through the eyes of a condemned adulteress. It is through Hester's eyes that the reader witnesses the wounds of humanity, be they in the form of judgment, shame, or hypocrisy. The ending to this tale is really found within the hearts of the readers. Enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the book The Scarlet Letter, a young lady named Hester Prynne believes that her husband has died at sea, so she has an affair that result¿s into her giving birth to her beautiful daughter, Pearl. She is forced to wear the scarlet letter ¿A¿ on her bosom as a reminder of her wrong doings. Her husband, who ends up not being dead, comes back to her town disguised and wants revenge on his wife¿s seducer, who we later discover is Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. The characters in Hawthorne¿s story are confused and broken hearted. The characters all have to fight within themselves to figure out what is the right thing to do. Hester Prynne is a confused single mother who is forced to be cursed by the scarlet letter on her bosom that reminds her of her sins. She gives birth to a mysterious little girl named Pearl, but she will not reveal the father of this child. Mr. Dimmesdale, who we later find out is the father of Pearl, is quiet and afraid of what will happen to him if he reveals himself as Pearl¿s dad. Roger Chillingworth, Hester¿s ¿dead¿ husband, is over come with anger and wants revenge on his wife¿s seducer. Hawthorne also uses description in this book. He creates a picture of what is happening in the story and the emotions of the characters. The reader will be able to tell that he puts great feeling and thought into this book to make it what it is. The Scarlet Letter is a great book to read! Be prepared to get sucked into the book and feel like you are there in the small Puritan New England community with Hester. Read The Scarlet Letter to find out more. You won¿t be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The scarlet letter was a very intriguing book and I enjoyed the begining and the middle of the book. The end of the book was not very exciting as the begining , mainly because I was suspecting a twist ending or something crazy. Nathaniel Hawthorne really made the main character Hester Pryne an adulterer, very noble because she wasn't all full of sin , she wasn't a bad person she was actually very strong willed, and able to carry her burdens that she caused. The book overall was great and I enjoyed it very much , I just wasnted a diiferent ending.