Objective: Preface The Scarlet Letter begins with a "preface to the second edition," which Hawthorne wrote in 1850. While it is mostly unrelated to the narrative itself, it is important for understanding Hawthorne's narration. The objective of this lesson to introduce the novel and begin to acquaint students with Hawthorne's unique and chatty style.
1. Close read, as a class, the first two sentences (down to "malevolence"). Ask students to focus on the narrative voice, as in, if you heard someone saying these words, who would that person be? Focus specifically on the issue of person: Why is Hawthorne referring to himself in the third person? What does that achieve? What is the purpose of using "the author" here? In addition, pay particular attention to the following phrase: "unprecedented excitement in the respectable community," and be sure that students start to read beneath his words and vaulted style. What...
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