The Scarlet Letter

Lesson 1


Explain the lifestyle and values of Puritan New England in the mid-1600s.

Make inferences about the author’s potential tone and purpose in the novel.

Readings and Materials

  • Article: “Puritan Life” 

  • Article: “Nathaniel Hawthorne” by Editors 

  • Book: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne 

Target Task


Question 1

How did the values of Puritans impact life in the New England colonies? Use details from the article to support your answer.

Question 2

Based on the details in his biography, what can you infer will be Hawthorne’s tone toward the Puritans of New England in his novel? Explain.

Question 3

Based on the quotation from Hawthorne’s journal, what can you predict about the novel? Explain. 

Key Questions


  • Based on your reading of the article, “Puritan Life,” what did Puritans value?
  • How did Puritan values impact Puritan practices?
  • When did Nathaniel Hawthorne live and write his literature?
  • Why did he add an H to his name? What might this decision reveal about his feelings for Puritan New England?
  • What do you notice about Hawthorne's connection with other major American writers and politicians?
  • Where was he living when he wrote The Scarlet Letter?
  • Read the quotation from Hawthorne’s journal that appears on the back cover of the novel. Describe both Hawthorne and his wife’s reaction to the novel’s conclusion.