Understanding The Scarlet Letter: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents

Synopsis

Sexual misconduct of society's leaders, the plight of single mothers, the separation of church and state--all are burning issues of the 1990s which sparked outrage and controversy 150 years earlier in The Scarlet Letter. Now, no study of American history is complete without thorough examination of Nathaniel Hawthorne's timeless masterpiece. This multidisciplinary study of the novel contains historical documents, collateral readings, and commentary. In short, it is the ideal companion for students who wish to fully understand the novel in the context of its time, and to unlock current relevance. Among the materials are original 17-century documents that illuminate Puritan attitudes and bring the Salem witchcraft trials to life, private journals, historical reports, 19th-century magazine articles, sketches, and newspaper stories. Many of the documents are available in no other printed form. Not only do these materials provide a taste of 17th-century Puritan culture, but they also glimpse into Hawthorne's mind,as he comes to terms with his witch-hunting ancestors and his vocation. Most importantly, this casebook contemplates the many issues raised by The Scarlet Letter which inextricable link the 17th-century Puritans to the 19th century culture of Hawthorne to the present. Each section of this casebook contains study questions, topic ideas for written or oral expression, and lists of further reading for examining the issues raised by the novel. A glossary of terms and a topic and person index complete this lastest addition to Greenwood Press' "Literature in Context" series. Designed as a resource for students, teachers, and library media specialists, the volume is cloth bound and printedon high quality acid-free paper, making it an excellent addition to every library collection.