Lesson plans for
The Scarlet Letter
and other works
Biography and Background
First Encounters: Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne
A short article about how the two men met.
Criticism from John Erskine.
Hawthorne: Author and Narrator
Students recognize the difference between a narrator and an author and explore the impact of an author's personal history on his or her creative life, particularly in the context of American society.
Hawthorne in Salem
A good source of biographical and background information. Don't miss the Scholar's Forum.
Classroom issues and strategies; major themes, historical perspectives, and personal issues; significant form, style, or artistic conventions; suggestions about understanding the original audience of his work; and links to related authors.
Critical essay by Carl Van Doren.
Brief biography and links to several e-texts.
Aylmer's Motivation in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birthmark"
Summary/introduction, close reading questions, and vocabulary.
How might students use storyboards to demonstrate and to extend their learning? Check the resources here. Students work with plot diagram, vocabulary, tone and word choice, more. Note: Storyboard That helps sponsor this site.
Science and Technology -- Monsters we have Created
Designed to go with Shelley's Frankenstein and Hawthorne's "The Birthmark," could be used with either one alone.
"Dr. Heidegger's Experiment"
"Dr. Heidegger's Experiment": vocabulary
42 words presented in context and with definitions. Click on a word for pronunciation, examples of recent use, more.
Nathaniel Hawthorne and Literary Humor
Students read a humorous story by Nathaniel Hawthorne and, as part of a curriculum unit on American literary humor, compare it to other American literary humorists in order to gain perspective on each writer's brand of humor and its significance within the context of American literary tradition. After debating the merits of "moral" humor like Hawthorne's as compared with the "folk" humor of Harris and Twain, students test the possibilities of blending these traditions by recasting a paragraph of Hawthorne's story in dialect style.
"The Minister's Black Veil"
Click here : these lesson plans are on a separate page.
The Scarlet Letter
Click here : Hester, Pearl, and Arthur have moved to a separate page (on the edge of the village near the woods).
"Young Goodman Brown"
Click here: these lesson plans are on a separate page.
Other short stories
"The Ambitious Guest"
Text of the story in HTML, PDF, and Google docs formats. Includes a link to a nonfiction/informational text about the historical background to the story.
"Chiefly About War Matters"
Text of an essay published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1862.
Cracking the Code of Hawthorne's Allegories
This site includes a slide presentation on symbol and allegory. It also has related discussion questions for "Rappacini's Daughter," "The Celestial Railroad," and "My Kinsman, Major Molineux."
"Ethan Brand" Discussion Questions
Students compare/contrast this story with "Young Goodman Brown."
"Feathertop: A Moralized Legend"
Introduction and text of the story, available in PDF and Google Docs formats.
"John Inglefields Thanksgiving"
Text of the story online, via Google Docs, or in PDF.
Text of the story with guided reading questions in the right margin and at the end. This 29-page document requires Adobe Reader or compatible application for access.