Reading Journal Assignment

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The Scarlet Letter Reading Journal and Group Assignments

Reading Journal Assignment

As you read, you will complete a journal entry for each of the six sections in The Scarlet Letter. Each journal entry will consist of two parts: Reading Observations and Discussion Question Responses.

Reading Observations

Here you will take notes on some or all of the following elements of the novel in each section. These notes should be organized a clear for me to read and understand. If I am unable to discern what your notes are about, I will not count them as complete. You must take notes on a minimum of four of following elements for a satisfactory score:

  • Setting

  • Significant Events, especially shifts in plot

  • Characterization and character development (including moral/spiritual development)

  • Conflict introduction and development

  • Key images, motifs, and symbols (address both literal and figurative purposes)

  • Narratorial tone

  • Mysteries and unanswered questions

Discussion Question Responses

You are required to answer any questions in boldface print. You may answer as many of the other questions as you like, as many of these questions will be the basis of upcoming reading quizzes and tests. However, it is better to err on the side of answering fewer questions more thoughtfully rather than answer more questions superficially. A satisfactory grade will be earned for answering the bolded questions thoroughly, with exemplary work going above and beyond the minimum requirement.

Bonus Points! Annotated Text

For extra credit, you may submit an annotated copy of the section of the novel with each journal entry. The entire text is available online, and you are responsible for printing it yourself. The extra credit will not be counted if the other two sections of the journal are not completed, and will be assigned based on the quality and amount of effort shown in the annotation.

Group Presentation Assignment

Working in your assigned color groups, plan and present a critical overview of one section of The Scarlet Letter. In order to help the class follow your presentation, you should use some kind of visual aid – this can take the form of a handout, a powerpoint or prezi presentation, a poster, or some other form approved by me. Presentation will occur after the class have finished reading and discussing the novel, so you will be dealing with a knowledgeable audience who can be involved in the discussion. Presentations should include the following elements:

  • Summary : Quickly review the setting of the section and its significance, as well as the basic order of events, making special note of conflict development and plot shifts

  • Character Analysis: Review the ways in which this section develops our knowledge of individual characters and expands their role within the story. Remember to pay close attention not only to inter/intrapersonal development, but to moral and spiritual development as well.

  • Key motifs and images: Review any items that are given special significance, either through repetition or narrative emphasis of some kind. If your section further develops a motif from another section, be sure to avoid mere repetition of someone else’s presentation.

  • Narratorial tone: Offer an interpretation of the narrator’s tone toward the people, events, and objects you have already addressed. Use specific textual material to illustrate your interpretation.

  • Close Reading Exercise: Select a sentence from the text that is particularly illustrative of a key motif, tone, or situation in your section of the novel. Discuss both the content and the structure of this sentence as they relate to the larger issues in this section of the novel.

SECTION KEY: I- Chapters 1-4, II – Chapters 5-8, III – Chapters 9-12, IV – Chapters 13-16, V – Chapters 17-20, VI – Chapters 21-24

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