By now you know that the WEM First Level of Inquiry Questions require me to retitle the novel. I’ve talked about the task here and here. These are the two questions that will help me with that assignment.
1. Who is the central character in this book?
2. What is the book’s most important event?
Let’s tackle the second question. Can we agree that the adultery was the most important event in the book? Or at least Chillingworth witnessing Hester’s ignominy on the pillory? The entire book centers on the adultery, so that’s the answer I’m using.
Now for first question. Instinctively I want to say that Hester Prynne is the central character, but part of me wants to say that Rev. Dimmesdale comes in a close second. I don’t want to leave anyone out, so can I include Roger Chillingworth as well? Let’s face it. Other than a few governors and the occasional townsperson (Mistress Hibbons), who was on your character list? These three. Oh, and Pearl. We can’t forget the living representation of the scarlet letter.
Back to the retitling…
The WEM says, “Now give your book a title that mentions the main character, and a subtitle that tells how that character is affected by the book’s main event.”
So readers, here’s your assignment. Give The Scarlet Letter a new title using one of the three main characters’ names and a subtitle explaining how that character was affected by the main event of the novel.
Here’s my attempt at using Chillingworth.
Roger Chillingworth: a husband returns to find his wife publicly shunned for having another man’s child, so he dedicates his life to seeking revenge upon his wife’s lover by concealing his identity and befriending the man in order to torture him psychologically at the cost of the husband’s own spiritual and physical destruction.