Renaming The Scarlet Letter

20 Mar

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.

Your turn.


Posted by on March 20, 2012 in The Scarlet Letter, Well-Educated Mind


Tags: , ,

4 responses to “Renaming The Scarlet Letter

  1. Christina Joy

    March 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Here’s my 3-for-the-price-of-1 answer:

    Hester, Arthur, and Roger: How Sin Destroys, Penance Fails, and Revenge Kills

    • Christine

      March 22, 2012 at 7:25 am

      I like bargins: title, character list, and themes… all in one.

      I’m glad you shared your title.

  2. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    March 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Like your new titles for TSL ladies. Here’s my attempt:

    Hester Prynne: a condemned adulteress, forced to wear a scarlet letter A as a badge of shame, conceals the identity of her child’s father, raises the child amid public scorn, commits herself to good works and eventually changes the public perception of her character from “adulteress” to “able”.

    Whew! I got to use almost as many commas as Nathaniel Hawthorne!

    • Christine

      March 22, 2012 at 7:23 am

      Nicely done!


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