The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter Reader-Response Journal

Assignment: For Chapters 2-24 of The Scarlet Letter, you will compose journal entries. These entries are designed to encourage you to read closely and to appreciate the complexity and depth of Hawthorne's writing. You will be noting (1) thematic ideas; (2) figurative language; (3) symbolism; and (4) use of allusions.

General Instructions:

  1. Each entry must be composed of a direct quotation from the novel and at least 3 sentences of commentary. The commentary and quote must be written into a single paragraph. The commentary will explain the significance of your chosen quotation.

  2. Each entry should include the chapter # and page #, as well as the category of entry.

  3. Your journal must include 23 entries, one from each chapter except chapter 1.

Twenty of your entries must be distributed equally among the four categories listed under "Assignment." The other 3 entries may be of any of the 4 types.

  1. This journal must be completed individually.

Thematic Ideas:

  1. The reason that I did not assign this Journal for summer reading was because I did not want you to begin to develop your ideas about themes of the book until we had spent time in class discussion.

  2. Be sure to state the theme and underline it as part of the heading for the journal entry.

Figurative Language:

  1. These entries should indicate the type of figurative language used.

  2. The commentary should analyze how the language enhances the story.


  1. These entries should indicate the concrete and the abstract unlike things that are being compared.

  2. In your commentary, you should elaborate on meanings of the symbol.


  1. The commentary should discuss the type and meaning of the allusion as well as Hawthorne's purpose in making that particular reference.

Journals will be due:
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