The Scarlet Letter

Lesson 15


Analyze how the author develops the idea of isolation in the podcast.

Readings and Materials

Target Task


How does the author of the podcast develop the idea that isolation impacts the mind? Use examples from the podcast to support your answer.

Key Questions


  • Who is George Jackson? Why was he sentenced for a term of one year to life? What was problematic about the impact of this “indeterminate sentencing”?
  • What is Pelican Bay? What makes it different than many prisons?
  • Why does the creator of the podcast include the clip from Orange Is the New Black?
  • What do prisoners in solitary confinement report missing most? How do they report spending their time?
  • What is the impact of isolation on the brain? How does the author develop the answer to this question?
  • How did Hawthorne develop his message about the impact of isolation in Chapter 13? Compare his messages with those expressed in the podcast.



  • On this day, the teacher should introduce the podcast project to students, outlining their task and the criteria for a successful podcast. Students can complete the project on their own for the duration of the unit or the teacher could decide to use the flex day to provide class time to begin the project.
  • Some sample criteria:
    • The podcast should be five to seven minutes in length and must address one of our key thematic questions for the unit.
    • The podcast must develop an answer to the key thematic question.
    • The podcast creator should include two or three interviews, any relevant research, and some commentary by the creator in order to develop his/her message.