Monday, August 15, 2011

Scarlet Letter ch. 3-4 CRQs (critical reading questions)

AP English language and composition mcrawford

The Scarlet Letter Ch 3-4

In chapter 3, a stranger arrives in town on the very day that Hester stands upon the scaffold. What a coincidence! How is this stranger described? With whom has he apparently been traveling? Where has he been? How is he dressed? About what does he immediately ask?

On page 63, Hawthorne writes that the stranger “bowed courteously to the communicative townsman.” Why? About what has the townsman been so communicative? Is Hawthorne being playfully self-aware here? What narrative purpose has this communicative townsman served?

Who are these men sitting on the balcony during Hester’s time on the scaffold? Which speaks to her first? Describe what he says. How does he succeed in getting the younger man to address Hester?

Who is this younger minister? What is his name? Why do the others think he is the one who should speak to Hester? How is he described? What kind of appeal does he make to Hester? Contrast his tone with that used by the others that address Hester.

How does the “misshapen scholar” gain access to the jail?

In chapter 4, (on page 77) one reads, “Thou knowest that I was frank with thee. I felt no love, nor feigned any.” Who says this? To whom? Is this significant? Why?

Hester’s hunchbacked husband accepts that he is in part responsible for the course their lives have taken. Explain. (“We have wronged each other.” p. 78)

Why doesn’t he just renounce her and move on? Settle elsewhere?

What deal does Hester make with the man? She swears an oath? What does she swear to do or not do? What does she then, in the penultimate paragraph of the chapter, worry that she has done?

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