Friday, March 20, 2009

Socratic Seminar Recap

Discuss how you feel about the outcome of the socratic seminar in your particular class period. Write about one topic that was discussed in depth in your class period's seminar that enlightened your knowledge on the topic.

In addition, post questions you may still have about The Scarlet Letter and this unit and when another student post questions dialogue about them on your particular post.

And last but not least, come up with some other words that the letter A could stand for in The Scarlet Letter other than adultery, able, and angel. Of course, explain the specific reference of the word to The Scarlet Letter

Good luck in completing your vocab. project.

Ms. Ojeda


  1. Today during the socratic seminar we discussed many topics but the one that really interest me the most was when one of the students asked Do you think that Dimmesdale died happy or died with anger and guilt? This question really caught my attention because the answer to it is very touching and it also gives you a good feeling because it lets you know that even though Dimmesdale went through hard times, he still believes that after Chillingworth made him confess and let his guilt out for all the things that he did that made him die in a very happy way knowing that he said what he had to say. The one question that i wanted to ask was How do you think Dimmesdale felt when Hester told him that he was Pearl's father and how did he react to it? Lastly to me the Letter ''A'' means that ones you are told to wear this letter you cant take it out for the rest of your life, but the day that you can take it out its going to make you feel like a new person and also good about yourself or maybe even as a Hero and the word The Scarlett Letter means that bad things could always end up as good things and you should always follow your heart and remember that their's always people out there who love you and are always there for you.
    Stefania Berman
    Period: 3

  2. The Socratic Seminar that took place yesterday had both positive and negative aspects. The content from those who participated was in-depth, however, only at certain points in specific questions within the Scarlet Letter. Furthermore, approximately five students chose not to participate in the socratic seminar at all. The one question within the socratic seminar that was in spoken in specific detail in was "What does the Brook represent within the Scarlet Letter?"

    It was interesting to hear various responses; However, the response that intrigued me the most stated that the Brook was a divider within Hester Prynne that only allowed her to choose and live happily with either Reverend Dimmesdale or Pearl. The Brook also enlightened on the symbolism of Pearl that she is a constant reminder of her sin; especially in the Brook scene where Pearl put the bonnet and Scarlet Letter back on Hester before she would become calm.

    TO answer the question from Stefania, "How do you think Dimmesdale felt when Hester told him that he was Pearl's father and how did he react to it?"
    Dimmesdale might have actually known that he was the father even when Hester was on the scaffold for everybody to mock her and make comments. Hester had no children and after the affair with Reverend Dimmesdale, she had Pearl. Reverend Dimmesdale may have placed more guilt upon him knowing that Pearl was his child, and that he could not release the information publicly or even become a father figure.

    One question that I brought up yesterday that wasn't really dialogued was, "What was Nathaniel Hawthorne's purpose for writing the Scarlet Letter? How does this correspond with the ideals of the Transcendentalism and Romanticism movements?

    The A on the Scarlet Letter could have stood for agitate The Scarlet Letter was designed to agitate the wearer through embarrasment. However, Hester Prynne manipulated this by wearing an elegant embroidered A to agitate the public by showing the public that she wasn't hiding her sins, but possibly proud by publicly displaying the A in the fashion she did.

    Brandon Sproul
    Period 4

  3. The Socratic seminar was not only very helpful but also an original way to discuss a specific topic. The topic that was discussed in depth in my class period’s seminar that enlightened my knowledge was the climax of the novel “The Scarlet Letter.” Some students thought the climax of the novel is in chapter 17, “The Pastor and His Parishioner,” where Hester revealed to Dimmesdale Chillingworth’s true identity. Other students thought the climax of the novel is in chapter 23, “The Revelation,” where Dimmesdale was standing on the scaffold and confessed his truth to all townsmen. This specific topic caught my attention because I still have doubts between which one is the actual climax of the novel.

    In order to answer Brandon’s questions about transcendentalism and romanticism the reader must be familiar with these movements. The Scarlet Letter shows some transcendentalist influence including a belief in individual choice and consequence, and an emphasis on symbolism. However, Hawthorne was also influenced by romanticism. Romanticism allowed people to get away from the constricted, rational views of life and concentrate on an emotional and sentimental side of humanity. The movements can be related to “The Scarlet Letter” because his themes center on evil and sin of humanity, and he uses symbols throughout the novel. I also have a few questions about the novel such as, what is the real climax of the novel? How does the tone shift throughout the novel?

    Another meaning of the letter A can be abject and abnormal. The definition of abject is miserable, humiliating, or wretched and it fits Hester because the whole purpose of having to wear the A was to feel shame and embarrassed in public. It might also stand for abnormal which means deviating from the normal or average because she was an outcast in the Puritan society.

    Joanna Berkowitz
    Period 1

  4. The socratic seminar in first hour on Friday was much more helpful than I thought it would be. It truly enabled me to analyze and better understand the romanticism era and the novel "The Scarlet Letter". The specific part was that especially helpful was the finding of the true climax of "The Scarlet Letter". That was an imporatant question that I was pondering about so I decided to present it to my peers and we basically ended up on chapter 23- "The Revelation of the Scarlet Letter" because it is at this point where nothing else can happen because all the other chapters had come together to explode in chapter 23. The climax was essential to know so that the novel could be further analyzed.

    I was only left with two questions after reading all the short stories in this unit and "The Scarlet Letter". They are: "What is the overall tone of "The Scarlet Letter"? and What is the true symbol of the rosebush?"

    To answer Joanna's question about the actual climax about "The Scarlet Letter", it is found in chapter 23- "The Revelation of the Scarlet Letter" due to the fact that Dimmesdale's confession of his sin, his showing of the letter on his chest and his hanging all are in the climax. Chapter 17 more like added fire to the elements that caused the climax. Chapter 23 has the final explosion of the novel and after it everything settles down. It contains the highest point of action.

    Another meaning to Hester's scarlet letter other than "adultery" can be "Alive". Alive is defined as "full of energy and spirit". Hester definitely symbolizes life because despite her public shaming and everything that she had gone through in the beginning chapters,she decided to stay in the town and stick out her life. She spent all those 7 years rebuilding her reputation and she eventually came out strong and full of life in the end. Also, the scarlet letter could stand for "astonishing" because never once was Hester ashmed of Pearl and she never ran away from her problems. She was a strong woman and she was very dedicated, therefore that could have astonished the town.

  5. On the third Socratic seminar for this school year of 2008-2009, we discussed subjects such as what some symbolisms represented, different themes on the story, who is the protagonist and antagonist in the story, and many literary analyzed questions about the passages read in the “Language of Literature book” during these past weeks. This discussion session had a useful outcome since we now have a better understanding on the stories; also, one feels more dominant of these subjects. I think that it is a great exercise for the mind of us, students, to analyze the text and comprehend different points of view, also to respect them and to use supporting details to support one’s ideals and points of view. A subject we discussed in depth in fourth period was the recognition of the fine between transcendentalism and romanticism; this subject enlightened the Socratic seminar as well as myself due to the student’s constant participation and effort when comparing and contrasting the two literary terms, it helped me define the points of view from both type of writers and the different techniques applied to such terms.
    A question that I still wonder about is why Hester was humiliated in front of the region but Dimmesdale wasn’t? Could this be an issue of gender or just a power difference between the two lovers? Concerning Joanna’s question, the climax of the plot of the novel “The Scarlet Letter” is located in chapter 23, “The Revelation”. In this chapter, all the problem are at the highest point of tension; Hester is excited about the idea of leaving with Dimmesdale and Pearl, Pearl regrets Dimmesdale as her father, and Chillingworth’s plan of accompanying the lover’s trip. All the problems are solved by Dimmesdale’s confession. The characters change as there is a solution to the problem.
    If I were t give another word representing the letter A of the scarlet letter, it would be Aloof; Hester shows herself to be detached; distant, standoffish; snobbish, haughty, and disdainful. Moreover, Hester Prynne spends almost the entire novel distant from the center of town, she went to live in a cottage with Pearl for a long time, she also felt different from the rest and in an indirect way, she was an Alien to everyone. This could also be another word related to the A letter; Alien.

    Victoria Hernaiz
    Period 4

  6. The Socratic Seminar that we had in first hour was extremely productive in the sense that many different points of views were expressed. As well as the Socratic Seminar went, I feel, however, that there was still much left to talk about because there were many different pieces of writing that we studied and really only focused on one. Not to be misunderstood, the Socratic Seminar really showed us a lot about symbolism in the Scarlet Letter and we talked extensively about it, mostly because the Scarlet Letter is filled with symbolism. That is one topic I'd say enlightened my knowledge. Furthermore, as I recall, that Socratic Seminar could have gone on for hours if would have had the time for it because everyone was coming up with great questions, answers, and interpretations in order to keep the Socratic Seminar interesting. Maybe if we would have continued, we would have talked about what we didn't get a chance to on Friday.

    Moreover, there are still some questions that have gone unanswered and/or not thoroughly clarified. For example, on the website that was on the previous blog titled “The Scarlet Letter”, it says that Nathaniel Hawthorne is an Anti-Transcendentalist and that it is shown in the scarlet Letter. The question that arises is how is Anti-Transcendentalism exposed in the Scarlet Letter; keeping in mind the definition of Transcendentalism (every individual is capable of discovering a higher truth through intuition)?

    Some other words that could explain the Scarlet Letter on Hester’s bosom are “Abstruse” and “Avenge”. Abstruse can be another interpretation of the Scarlet Letter because it is how Pearl sees it. She is always pondering over it and gets to be quite annoying to Hester to reveal this great mystery to her. The other word that easily fits the interpretation of the Scarlet Letter is Avenge because this is how Chillingworth is throughout the story. He is always looking for revenge.

    Sebastian Posada
    1st Period

  7. Fourth period's socratic seminar went well; we discussed many aspects of "The Scarlet Letter" including various themes, its characters, and its similarities and differences in regards to transcendentalism and romanticism and authors such as Walt Whitman. One specific topic that we discussed during our socratic seminar was the importance of Pearl in the novel, as well as her interactions with characters such as Hester. Although we did have a thoughtful discussion, I feel as though we may have missed certain parts of the novel.

    One question that I have been pondering is the symbolism and importance of the meteor in Chapter 12 "The Minister's Vigil". For Sebastian's question above me, Anti-Transcendentalism is exposed in "The Scarlet Letter" through characters such as Mr. Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth. As the site states, Hawthorn rebelled against the philosophy that man is basically good, as well as stating that Hawthorn saw life through grim terms. This can be reflected in Mr. Chillingworth, due to the fact that he changes dramatically throughout the novel, even acknowledging himself that he transformed into a fiend as a result of vengeance.

    Another word for the scarlet letter can be Apathy. The definition for apathy is absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement. This definition for the letter can be reflected in Hester, as while she wears it she is devoid of passion or excitement. Therefore, the scarlet letter could possibly stand for the word apathy.

    Kayl Karadjian
    Period 4

  8. The socratic seminar went well in my fourth period class. For the most part I feel the majority of people participated and the discussion had a great flow. This was not the best discussion we've had so far, but it was a successful one. It enlightened me on many topics, one of which was the difference between romanticism and transcendentalism. I discovered transcendentalism is more about the individual and less about nature.

    After reading "The Scarlet Letter" and having the socratic seminar in class I am still left with one question. At first I thought I knew the meaning of the last sentence in the book, "ON A FIELD, SABLE, THE LETTER A, GULES." I thought this sentence meant Dimmesdale and Hester will forever be left together, and the scarlet letter will be a permanent mark on there lives; however, I am not sure if this is the meaning of the sentence.

    As we all know the letter "A" began to symbolize many things as the novel progressed. One of the meanings to the letter "A" was alienated. Throughout "The Scarlet Letter" Hester was alienated from society. She was an outcast to society. This is seen when the townspeople constantly criticize and mock her.

  9. I was delighted to take an expeditious break from our daily routine to discuss some of the questions and topics students were unsure of. It is always a good idea to get a second opinion, since literature can be interpreted in an umpteen of ways. However, we were obviously unable to discuss every topic we have covered since the last seminar. I felt the Socratic Seminar was quite fluent excluding the brief pauses we took to change topics. Nonetheless, we were able to discuss the protagonist and antagonist of the "Scarlet Letter" I used to think there were two antagonists: Dimmesdale and Chillingworth however I was proven wrong; several examples were highlighted which were used to prove Dimmesdale isn't an antagonist.

    Furthermore, a question that was left unanswered is: does the invisible letter A on Dimmesdale change meanings? I believe the meaning of the phrase "On a field, sable, the letter A, gules" is that even after they died the letter is still red, meaning adultery is a crime that haunts one even after death.

    The "A" can symbolize infinite amounts of adjectives and verbs throughout the story. One of these alternate meanings of the "A" which is not physically written in the novel such as is admirable. Towards the end of the story Hester was admired by the town so immensely that they were considering removing the "A".

    Steven Erenst
    -Fourth Period

  10. Friday's Socratic Seminar I believed went alright. Like Sebastian said I agree that there where a few more story's we should of touched instead all time invested in "The Scarlet Letter". As far as my memory can stretch, the topic that mostly stood out and cleared my view point was about the symbolism of the grass and how it can relate to The Scarlet Letter. This is the topic that was discussed in my period's seminar and it enlightened my knowledge on the topic.

    Moreover, I do still in fact have a main questions that is not answered. As far as the climax goes many of the students output's were on different chapters. Weather it was Ch. 17, 23, 14 etc.. I would like to clear this up because all can be a possibility to be a Climax.

    The letter "A" has various meaning to it. Reviewing everyone's post's about the letter A, i saw great ones. I think the letter A could also stand for "alone." Alone means, separated; apart. In the novel, Pearl is very distant from children she's not that talkative with people although I believe it was Chillingworth who said he wished she was. In Addition, Hester throughout the novel seems very alone without a husband and although she has Pearl she still hides from things.

    natasha hamaoui p.1

  11. This is a response to Steven's response to my question. I thought about it, and maybe it means that the letter A will be on them even in the afterlife. So once again the letter A changes meanings, but this time it stands for afterlife.
    Arash Afshar
    Period 4

  12. The Socratic seminar in first hour on Friday was an extremely enlightening way to learn about the deeper details and aspects of "The Scarlet Letter" and other pieces of literature we have learned about in class. One important point of the discussion that really stuck with me was the talk about the climax and resolution of "The Scarlet Letter". Although I and others in the class believed the moment of admittance from Dimmesdale in chapter 23 was the climax that only left the falling action and resolution, others in the class believed that the climax was in fact during Hester Prynne and Chillingworth's talk in the forest in chapter 17. This discrepancy caused a good amount of discussion and debate among me and my classmates which also luckily brought up many other points regarding symbolism showing many key points in the book that I did not catch beforehand.

    Some questions I still have however after the Socratic Seminar are as follows. Something I still don't understand about "The Scarlet Letter" is in chapter 10, what the significance of the "large black-letter volume" that is left open when Dimmesdale falls asleep? As well as this, I was wondering why Chillingworth responds to the situation the way he does?

    Finally the letter "A" that has been plastered on Hester Prynne's bosom could stand for many other messages. Some of these could include "alternative", referring to the different way that Hester handles the situation compared to how it probable would be handled by any other woman in that time and place. Last but not least, another word that the "A" could be representing is the word "artist". Hester skill with the needle, and her ability to make the "A" she is forced to wear into something so beautiful is something very unique and artistic.
    In my opinion, these words could also be what the "A" Hester wears stands for.

    Max Adamsky
    Period 1

  13. The socratic seminar in first period was very communicative; we discussed about almost every story except a few ones. I though that the most important was the discussion about symbolism and themes: we talked about the representation of the grass in Walt Whitman's poem "Song of Myself", we also talked about how the forest represented freedom and the significance of the scarlet letter related to Hester and Pearl. We discussed the theme of how guilt can destroy a man's body, soul, or mind and how it was related to the situation of Dimmesdale. I think that Dimmesdale was pretty afflicted by the fact that Hester went through her punishment and now she was confronting very well the consequences, while he was hiding his sin and was disturbed by it; he was sick and could not find a cure to his afflictions.

    I still have some questions like: "Which chapter truly represents the real climax of the novel?"

    Another word for the letter "A" could be "Admiration" (because of Hester courage as a woman) or Affliction (for all the problems that Hester had when she was punished).

    Luis Carducci
    Period 1

  14. The Socratic Seminars where very informative and helpful. Discussing openly with my peers about the novel and other stories was very enlightening. First of all, it made me analyze my answers and even think of other possible answers; in addition, it helped me view the book from different perspectives. As i can recall, the most talked about topic in my class was the climax of the novel. Mainly because the answer was either Chapter 17 or Chapter 23; therefore, the discussion was based on those two chapters and which of the climaxes seemed more relevant. Both chapters got great support throughout the discussion; nevertheless, i personally think that the climax takes place in chapter 23 for the very reason that nothing of high intensity takes place after Dimmesdale confesses and nothing else happens that impacts the story.

    If we would've continued with the Socratic Seminars I would've gone into more detail over the meaning of grass, and how that relates with the Scarlet Letter. Steven Ernest stated on his blog spot that he believes that the phrase, "On a field, sable, the letter A, gules" means that, "Even after they died the letter is still red, meaning adultery is a crime that haunts one even after death." Nevertheless, because the letter A remained there, it might mean that it does not remain with the soul. Maybe the letter remains there because that is the only place it was acknowledged because it meant adultery. Besides, we have learned that the letter A also stands for other things.

    The Letter A has been talked about thoroughly throughout the novel and in class. Nathaniel finds a way to change the meaning and representation of the letter and he does this through his characters. The first meaning given to the letter was adultery, which is represented by Hester mostly, and Dimmesdale. Pearl is also a representation of the letter because she is the outcome of adultery; I think that Pearl represents angel, which represents the letter A. The scarlet letter can mean other things, such as: alienated, which described Hester's situation perfectly, when society turns against her, they are not turning against Hester, but against adultery; her actions and choices. It can also mean, admirable; Hester is a person to be admired because she was strong, she stayed true to herself, and she lived through all of that without anyone but Pearl my her side.

    Daniela Panzacchi
    Period: 1

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. The socratic seminar that took place this past Friday took the class into great depth of many aspects of “The Scarlet Letter.” This was an excellent way for us to discuss about topics we didn’t quite feel comfortable with and I personally learned more about this book as well as thought about things that I would never think of on my own. Like Brandon mentioned, there were about five classmates who did not participate in this socratic seminar, and it is a shame because we weren’t able to hear their opinions and insight on the variety of topics. Though the question of who was the protagonist and the antagonist in “The Scarlet Letter” was asked in an earlier blog, when asked again in class what some people thought of who the antagonist was surprised me. Most of theclass agreed that the protagonist of this book was Hester Prynne; however, we were all not able to think unanimously of who the antagonist was. I personally agree with the fact that Chillingworth is the antagonist, he was the one who was like the Devil and continuously tortured Dimmesdale. Steven, for example, thought that there were two antagonist in the book, Dimmesdale and Chillingworth. This sparked a great discussion, learning that the antagonist is someone who has opposing views or are just opposite. Learning this we concluded that Dimmesdale was not the antagonist. Lastly, Lucas thought the antagonist was Pearl, causing great chaos. Everyone in the class went against what Lucas thought, but I can see where he is going with it. I never once thought about it, but truly if Pearl was not born Hester’s and Dimmesdale’s life would be better.

    In response to Stefania’s question, “How do you think Dimmesdale felt when Hester told him that he was Pearl's father and how did he react to it?” I think that Dimmesdale knew before Hester ever confronted him. Ever since the day Hester was forced to stand on the scaffold in front of the whole marketplace, Dimmesdale has shown much affection toward Hester and Pearl. In chapter 3 on page 70, is when Dimmesdale talks to Hester on the scaffold. This was a very emotional piece and can sense he knows that he is the father of Pearl. The way he reacts to the situation is shown throughout the whole book. He has much grief and the guilt of having a child with her which is killing him inside.

    One question that I wanted to ask during the socratic seminar, but was not able to due to time was : Throughout “The Scarlet Letter,” Hawthorn associates the color gold with many of the characters. Hester throughout the whole book, has the letter A embroidered in GOLD thread. Toward the end of the book, in chapters 21 and 22, the color gold is brought up again. On page 244, Chillingworth is seen walking with a gold chain and a gold-lace hat, then on page 251 Mistress Hibbins has a gold cane, and lastly on page 255 the shipmaster of the Spanish Main is trying to catch Pearl to kiss her and to do so he throws a gold chain around her; once the chain is attached to her, it goes around her neck and waist mentioning in the book the gold chain is now a part of her. Could the gold symbolize anything in “The Scarlet Letter” and is there a reason for Hawthorne associating the color gold with Hester, Mistress Hibbins, Pearl, and Chillngworth?

    The letter “A” meaning, from what we read, adultery, able, and angel, I feel can also stand for attractive. Ever since the beginning of the book, Hester had such beauty to her. On page 55, it says, “The young woman was tall, with a figure of perfect elegance on a larger scale. She had dark and abundant hair, so glossy that it threw of the sunshine with a gleam...” This shows us, the readers, she was such a beautiful woman. Through the years too, the letter “A” grew on people, after a while citizens viewed the letter as beauty and a great symbol of Hester.

    -Ashley Fuchs
    Period 4

  17. I though that the Socratic Seminar went good in my class. One topic that my class period talked about is if they concedered Hester really committing adutry because of how long Chillingworth was gone for is it really concedred adultry? That to me was a very intresting discussion cause so many people had diffrent opinions it was a great topic to discuss. I really did enjoy it. One question I do still have was... What happend to Pearl? I would of loved to know what ended up really happening to her. She was a real intresting character in my eyes. Lastly the letter A could stand for Anonoymous... I would choose this word because it seems to me that the Scarlet letter to some people is anyonomouse and actually this goes great with Pearl cause really she does not know what the letter is on her moms chest for and that would be a good word to described maybe what pearl is thinking the letter stands for.
    Corey Sax
    Period 3

  18. Daniel Ortiz

    I felt the socratic seminar was not to informative. Even though that was only our second time as a class trying to open up in an indepth manner on a piece of literature it did not contain alot of education substance to me at least. Everything that was covered I already knew. I'm sure other people learned something though so I bet it wasn't my experience equally shared among everyone.

  19. The outcome of the socratic seminar was outstanding. We started off discussing about romanticism and transcendentalism and how they were similar and different. From there on the conversation was invaded by a very particular topic in the Scarlet Letter, "guilt." We went on with a deep analytical conversation on whether Hester would have done the same if she did not have Pearl, etc. In addition, we went over Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Self-Reliance" which is one of the best pieces of writing we've discussed in Ms.Ojeda's class. Nevertheless, all the material covered in the socratic seminar was already familiar to me. The only thing that was clarified was the difference between romanticism and transcendentalism, which I wasn't quite sure what it was.
    Furthermore, the has been many propositions for what the letter A could stand for in the Scarlet Letter, but for me it could stand as ardent. According to the official definition ardent is a great warmth of feeling; fervor; passion. This could relate to Hester because she felt great passion for Pearl, and if she was branded with the A is because she loves Pearl too much to fall into the hands of evil. In other words, her passion about the subject is so strong that she will never regret anything that she did.

    Lucas Baistrocchi
    Period 4

  20. The socratic seminar in third hour on Friday was ok. Not a lot of people was a part of it. This question really caught my attention because the answer to it is very touching and it also gives you a good feeling because it lets you know that even though Dimmesdale went through hard times, he still believes that after Chillingworth made him confess and let his guilt out for all the things that he did that made him die in a very happy way knowing that he said what he had to say.
    I agree with Corey Sax about the one topic that the class talked about is if they concedered Hester really committing adutry because of how long Chillingworth was gone for is it really concedred adultry.

  21. I would rank our class socratic seminar an "A+" I feel that period 4 socratic seminar went really smooth. No long pauses and best of all, everyone was interested and i was listening. I really liked the topic about the last quote in "The Scarlet Letter" which was "On a field, sable, the letter A, gules" I feel like i got a better understanding in concluding "The Scarlet Letter"

    I still am not quite familar in contrasting transcedentalism and romantismn as though I am surfing the next to try and find more on both subjects so I cam prepared for the midterm. What Arash said I think i can respong well because I heard a completed answer in our socratic seminar. The letter A and Hester's chest willalways be their no matter where it goes. It will be pasted down to century to century and this story will be told through the years.

    I think the letter A can also stand for adept asthough I think adept is a level higher than able. Its more able to do something and I believe that this has to do alot with Hester and her improvement. Adept means very skilled; proficient; expert.

    -Rudy Lavecchia

  22. This past Friday a Socratic seminar about the romanticism and transcendentalism period of American literature took place in our English class. Many topics were covered while the discussion floor was open; among these were the rolls of antagonist and protagonist in “The Scarlet Letter”, the climax, the themes of revenge and guilt, the differences and similarities of transcendentalism and romanticism, etc. The one topic in particular that enlightened me the most was the discussion of who was considered the protagonist and the antagonist. At the beginning there was confusion on whether Dimmesdale could be considered a protagonist; however, after the discussion it was clear that Hester was the protagonist, and that Chillingworth was the antagonist. Overall the Socratic seminar in fourth period went well, as I mentioned before many topics were discussed; moreover, the discussion was fluent and really productive. Even though seminar was efficient and many questions were answered, I still have a question that is not clear for me yet. Whether or not there can be more than one protagonist or antagonist in a novel?

    As we already know the scarlet letter “A” stands for “Able”, “Angel”, and “Adulterer”. If it were possible to attribute more meanings to the letter “A”, some could be artist, or ambivalent. As far as the reader knows, Hester was a skilled woman when it came to embroidering. All the townspeople, including the Governor, would ask her to embroider clothing pieces. On the other side, ambivalent also applies as a description to Hester’s future, because there is no certainty to know if she will go into hell or heaven when she dies.

    Oscar Betancourt
    English III Honors
    Period 4

  23. I love when we take time in class to do Socratic seminars. I believe that they are extremely productive and every student acquires a valuable lesson about the piece of literature. The Socratic seminar that we had on Friday was very interesting. One topic that I enjoyed the most was when we discussed what would have happened if Pearl wouldn’t have been born? Would Hester or Dimmesdale confess to their citizens? That brought interesting conversation about the characters personalities and their reactions. Furthermore, I learned numerous details about the symbolism in the Scarlet Letter. My classmates brought in interesting quotes that supported their opinions and it made me see the symbolism in a diverse matter.

    One query I still have for the Scarlet Letter is what is the meaning for the symbolism for prison? I don’t get the symbolism of the prison very clearly. Answering Max Adamsky’s last question, Chillingworth reacted the way he did about the affair because he felt betrayed by Hester. In his mind he was the victim because Hester and Dimmesdale didn’t display any respect towards him. They completely forgot about him and his feelings.

    I agree with Natasha Hamaoui from first period. Another meaning for the letter A could be alone. Hester was ignored for many years by society. This benign alone helped Hester become more mature and think differently about the scarlet letter. In addition, in chapter 17 when Hester was talking with Dimmesdale she said, “Thou shalt not go alone!” She did want Dimmesdale to leave without her. She wanted to go with him because she missed his and she was alone for a long time.

    - Carolina Celis Period 4

  24. I really enjoyed our socratic seminar. Everyone participated and had something worthy to say. Our class went into a particlur discussion about the symbolism of the forest and the sunlight and how it contributes hope to the melancholy tone of the novel. I hadn't really look at the forest and sunlight that way and I was glad that it was brought to my attention because I now I can see further into the meaning of the novel.
    I don't really understand the ending of "The Scarlet Letter". Why did Hester want to continue to be secluded from society? Wasn't that the whole purpose of Hester, Pearl, and Arthur going back to the England? It didn't really make sense to me.
    The scarlet letter could me a numerous amount of things. But to me, the most powerful word that relates to this novel is abominable. According to the dictionary, abominable means repugnantly hateful and loathsome. This word refers to both Hester and Arthur's feelings during the novel. Hester for an extremely long time hated herself for her sin and couldn't forigve herself. But the word abominable relates most to Arthur. He was so regretful and pitied himself so much that it ultimately ended up destroying his soul and killing him.
    ~Tiffany Vega
    Period 1

  25. I found the socratic seminar quite informative. The students in fourth period had various topics to discuss. One of the topics discussed being who were the protagonist and antagonist, as Steven mentioned. In the end we came to the conclusion that Hester is the protagonist and Chillingworth is the antagonist. Along with that topic we spoke of the differences among the transcendentalist and the romanticist eras. The topic of themes was further introduced in our discussion; in particularly we discussed of the theme guilt. Guilt was the more profound theme throughout The Scarlet Letter and was demonstrated among the character Reverend Dimmesdale. Overall the class discussion allowed me to listen to others opinions and interpretation of the piece of literature. Many did participate, yet there were still some individuals that were reluctant to speak, such as myself. Next socratic seminar I'll will be sure to participate.

    Two questions relevant to The Scarlet Letter still ponder in my head. What is the true symbolic meaning of the brook? As well as, Why is the letter A in the sky so important?

    The Scarlet Letter A can have many alternate meaning other than the obvious. One being the word is ambivalence. The dictionary definition of ambivalence is simultaneous attraction toward and repulsion from a person, object, or action. In a sense the scarlet letter applies to all three. The Scarlet letter is an object, it is on a person, and it represents an action. Its scarlet color and gold threads attract the public eye, in a way they just seem to stare and recognize its beauty. At the same time once people's eye are drawn upon it, they avoid Hester. Hester's stigma represents sin; therefore, citizens avoid or interact with her.

    ~Kristian Shaffer
    Period 4

  26. Friday's Socratic seminar went well. Many questions that I had were answered, and I learned a lot more about the symbolisms used in the the final chapters. The topic that I found interesting was whether Dimmesdale was the antagonist or not. I agreed with some that Dimmesdale was in the same situation as Hester, and that Chillingworth is the antagonist in the story. I thought that the discussions about Walt Whitman's poems were a little to short, but in that little period of time, we did cover quite a few things.

    What we didn't go over in the Socratic Seminar that I would like to understand is the what the rose bush stands for in "The Scarlet Letter". We did go over it when we read that chapter, but i didn't understand much.

    From what we discussed in class, the letter A stands for Adultery, Able, and Angel. Another word that I think is pretty obvious in this story is Alone. Hester spends most of her time wearing the Scarlet letter alone, with her daughter Pearl, away from the city.

    Steven Marcano
    Period 4

  27. I was absent on Friday due to a family emergency so I can’t answer the first paragraph. I believe that the letter A on The Crucible stands for not just adultery but atypical because that’s what she was in the community. Back then they had a very thin line of acceptance and if you weren’t like them they would hate you and say you where evil.

    Question = Why didn’t Hester moved out of town when she committed adultery
    Answer for Corey Sax= if you refer back to the book last paragraph in pg 126 and beginning of pg 127 we can conclude that she lived a very nice life far from Boston and that she send thing to her mom.

    Arturo Sifontes

  28. I think that the Socratic Seminar went well there was many people very involve in the argument even though there were a few that were sabotaging I hope the next time they can be a little more mature. We discuss about the meaning of the letter A and I find it really interesting that a symbol can represent so many things.
    I still do not understand why did Hester come back to Boston after all that happen there was no one the that she cared about because the book states that Pearl lived in Europe. This is a response to Luis Carducci’s question the real climax of the story is found is in the chapter 23 “The Revelation of the Scarlet Letter” because here is when Dimmsdale finally confesses in front of the whole village about his sin also he dies in the scaffold next to Pearl and Hester.
    Other words that the scarlet letter A can represent are Afflicted; because we obviously see how the whole situation tormented Hester every second of her life. Also Anxious is another word because we see that the Hester is very anxious when she talks to Chillingworth.

    Laura Calderon
    Period 3

  29. In my opinion the Socratic Seminar was very well run in our class, it cleared up most of the questions that students may of had. It was also successful in that it created discussions amongst classmates. One question that I still have is whether or not Hester Prynne was a heroine or just a women who had to deal with her particular circumstances?
    The letter A can also mean that abject whose dictionary definition is Low; contemptible; wretched. This applies to the story because this is how the letter made Hester's life.

  30. In my opinion the outcome of 1st period's socratic seminar was really good. It was very easy for us to get deeply involved into what we were talking about, and we managed to stay away from those akward silence moments that airise sometimes in these socratic seminars. One topic that we discussed for quite some time was the question of whether the sunshine in this book is symbolism of something good or evil. A lot of people agreed that it was a sign of hope and almost happiness in some views, while others said that it representded gloomy times like everything else in the story. From my point of view the sunshine represents hope in many ways. Everytime the sunlight is brought up in the book, it allows you to invision some little hint of positive thinking.
    One question I did not get the chance to ask while we were having our socratic seminar was the following. D.H. Lawrence states, "Hester simply hates her child", why do you think this is so? I found this in the paper Mrs. Ojeda gave us about a week ago. For some reason I don't think Hester hated Pear, so it really surprised me when I read this.
    Another word the "A" could stand for is Affection. Affection seems to be a word that could fit, when you look at the story as a whole. Almost all the characters show some kind of affection towards one another in some way. Behind every action, you can somehow connect it to the wanting of someone else.
    Emanuela Verardi

  31. In my opinion first hour's socratic seminar was very productive. Many different key points were mentioned and most of the questions that I had were answered. Although the seminar went very well I feel like we didn't really get to touch base on the readings from the text book. These are readings that we read in the previous weeks and it would have been beneficial to refresh our memories. In my class we talked a lot about the symbolism behind the sunshine. Students had different interpretations of the sunshine, all of which were postitvely correlated.

    As far as the novel goes, I didn't really understand what happened in the last two chapters. Hawthorne gave various outcomes for Dimmesdales death, I would like to have some clarity on this.

    I strrongly agree with Natasha when she says that the scarlet letter could also stand for alone. Hester Prynne was ostrized from her town because she committed adultery. The only person who was with Hester the whole way through this novel was her daughter, Pearl.

    Taylor Chatting period 1!

  32. The socratic seminar we had in class went very well and went into great detail about many subjects. Everyone seemed to contribute into the seminar and it was very appealing. The subject that I feel we went into great detail about Civil Disobedience and the line that said if you must break the law to do what is right, break it. We went on discussing how this can be seen as dangerous and the class was debating between the right and wrong of being able to rebel against legislation you do not see fit.

    I still wonder in the Scarlet Letter why Hester would not want to admit why she wanted to keep Dimmesdale a secret? Hester could have avoided all this conflict and greif with the people if she just said it was Dimmesdale. To answer Arash's question on what the last sentence means in the story was that when Hester moved back to the cottage the scarlet letter lays there gleaming with a scarlet glow(the meaning of the word gule.)

    Another word that could stand for the scarlet letter A would have to be attonment because this letter transforms her from being a remorseful husk to being a stronger and independent women. She had redemed her life.

  33. I believe that the sacratic seminar was very good for my period. I agree with Corey when he said One topic that my class period talked about is if they concedered Hester really committing adutry because of how long Chillingworth was gone for is it really concedred adultry? This was a very good question because some many people had different opinions, and so much to say about the topic. One of the questions i still have is why did Chillingworth lose his power and become weak when Dimmesdale died? I really would have liked to hear what people thougtht about why that had happen. Was it because he had a spell on him, or was it because he was possesed by some kind of devil. Finaly the letter A can also stand for "Ability" becuase everyone has the ability to change but they may change for good or bad like Chillingworth did from good to bad, and Hester did from proud to selfconcious.

  34. All I can say about the Socratic Seminar that took place in my class is that it was succesful. People were talking about the different topics of the Scarlet letter and even though there were people that didn't talk at all, they participated by listening and by paying attention.

    About Felipe's question, I think that she wasn't a heroine because there is nothing that she did to be called heroine, the fact of her helping people only tells me that the best word to describe her could be benevolent.

    The A simbolizes shame, the authorities made it so that it reminded people of adultery, but it was made to make Hester Prynne feel shame and regret what she had done.

    after the Socratic Seminar I wanted to know what does the color red means?

  35. The Socratic Seminar on Friday was mostly based on The Scarlet Letter and a small potion of the seminar was devoted to the Work of Walt Whitman. The discussion about who was the Antagonist and who was the Protagonist was very strong and in depth. As a matter of fact, the conversation shifted from the topic to only branch out to the question if Rev. Dimmesdale was an Antagonist or not. A strong Seminar topic is which continuous and this topic was absolutely dominate over all the other miniature topic and questions discussed in the Seminar.
    I would like to comment to the question posted by Emanuel; ““Hester simply hates her child", why do you think this is so?”. Hester didn’t hate her child at all she hated what Pearl represented. A mother could never hate her child but Hester beyond doubt didn’t like the fact that Pearl was the outcome of her mistake, adultery. From the text on Chapter six and page number ninety-two, “But she named the infant “Pearl,” as being of great price, - purchased with all she had, - her mother’s only treasure!” According to this quote it was definitely not Pearl whom Hester disliked but it was Pearl represented to; an outcome of adultery. Pearl was the memory of her sin.
    A question which I didn’t get a chance to ask was; since chapter one Hawthorne mentions the rose-bush three times, in the end what does the rose-bush really symbolize?
    Through out the novel we find the Scarlet letter “A” to symbolize different things such as Adultery, Able, and Angel. Other words which might’ve relative to the Letter “A” are: Alacrity, because she was willing to overcome every obstacle she face; Augur, because it was as if she could almost foretell the danger that awaited her and Rev. Dimmesdale; and I do agree with Emanuel that the letter could’ve represented Affection, affection for Pearl no matter what she was the outcome of.

    Sahar Jafar
    Period 4

  36. All I can say about the Socratic Seminar that took place in my class is that it was succesful. People were talking about the different topics of the Scarlet letter and even though there were people that didn't talk at all, they participated by listening and by paying attention.

    About Felipe's question, I think that she wasn't a heroine because there is nothing that she did to be called heroine, the fact of her helping people only tells me that the best word to describe her could be benevolent.

    The A simbolizes shame, the authorities made it so that it reminded people of adultery, but it was made to make Hester Prynne feel shame and regret what she had done.

    after the Socratic Seminar I wanted to know what does the color red means?

    Andres D'Elia
    3rd period

  37. During the Socratic Seminar on Friday, I gathered a lot of information concerning The Scarlet Letter. One topic that was cleared up for me was whether or not The Scarlet Letter had more characteristics of romanticism or trancendentalism. After the discussion, the class had concluded that even though The Scarlet Letter did contain some trancendentalist qualities, it should still be considered in the romanticism genre.

    One question I still have about The Scarlet Letter is why didn't Hester just reveal Chillingworth's identity from the beginning? I understand that she swore to him, but she was using his hidden identity against Hester. In that situation, Hester should have revealed Chillingworth's identity earlier than she did because it would have benefitted her and Dimmesdale greatly.

    The letter A that Hester wore has been seen as standing for adultery, able, and angel. I believe that A could also stand for artistic because of her unique talents as a seamstress.

  38. The socratic seminar about the scarlet letter and other topics having to do with Trancendentalism was very enlightening for me. It helped me relate the scarlet letter to other works of literature and also helped compare the authors of this time period and their views on life simply by studying their writing styles. I enjoyed our discussion on the question, "Do you think Hester returned to her cottage for similar reasons why Thoreau isolated himself in Walden?" It helped me understand these authors' motives behind their actions.

    I would like to comment on Emmanuela's question. I agree with Sahar and I don't believe she hatres her child but hates what she represents. Pearl was a symbol of her sin and which is the cause of all her pain. Hawthorne said in the novel that Pearl is the the scarlet letter that has been brought to life. Hester does hate the scarlet letter but loves her daughter Pearl.

    The A could represent "Affection". Hester's sin was an act of passionate love and true affection for DImmesda;e. The "A" is a symbol of their love and Dimmesdale shows unconditional affection for Hester as well which is why he bears an "A" on his chest as well.

    Michael Rufrano
    Period 1

  39. I thought that this socratic semiar was really productive. Although I didn’t put any input into it, I though that my classmates led the discussion very well. They ansked questions and answered it thuroughly thruout the discussion. Also, they werevery respectful to each other. What we talked in detail in the socratic seminar was the meaning of the grass, in the “Song of myself.” What I never realized in the end of this discussion was that the grass symbolized life or the afterlife.
    One of the questions that I had was; Is Pearl's behavior really unnatural for a child, or does Hester just imagine that it is? Also, another question that was left unanswered was; what is the most tragic character in the story?
    Although the most prevailant symbols of the letter “A” in the scarlet letter are adultury, angel, and able, I also think that it can mean antagonism. By Hester Prynne wearing the A, people in the society viewed her as an antagonist and someone who did something evil.
    -Thomas Worthington
    P. 1

  40. The socratic seminar in fourth period was productive and insightful. Unlike most other seminars, we remained on topic throughout the seminar and made multiple interesting points that made my mind race. Many people said direct quotes from the pieces of literature in order to support their opinions and analyzed the stories rather than saying obvious, concrete answers. However, I see a continuous pattern being formed as to who speaks and answers and who does not. In order to make the next socratic seminar more effective, those who don't regularly speak, must voice their thoughts. In agreement with Victoria, a specific point that aroused my attention was the point where we conversed about the differences between transcendentalism and romanticism. This discussion brought upon a correlation between all the pieces of literature we have studied.
    Other possible words that the letter "A" can stand for are: 1) "apart", in reference to Hester's separation from society, 2) "apotheosized" meaning made into a god, because by the end of the novel Hester is glorified, or 3)"animadversion", adverse criticism, because Hester was the blame of the adultery and Dimmesdale watched from afar.

    Daniela Gonzalez-Jatar
    Period 4

  41. The Socratic seminar in our class was very successful. I enjoyed the Discussion on the idea Thoreau presents in Civil Disobedience; if a law is unjust, break it. This sparked somewhat of a debate but it showed how the law is interpreted by different people in society. Some feel that laws are necessary for a society to run and some feel that laws are a strain on freedom if they are unjust.
    A question about he Scarlett letter which i have is whether Dimmsdales death was caused by physical sabotage over the years from chillingworth' "care".
    The a may stand for "Affliction", which means state of pain distress or grief. The Scarlett letter has caused Hester to live in a state of Affliction by forcing Hester to be isolated and ridiculed by society
    Saif Hamideh
    Period 1

  42. It seems to me that the Socratic Seminar that took place in my class in Friday went well. Almost everyone had an input about things except for 2 or 3 people, so there was a good amount of class participation. The main topic was the Scarlet Letter. Although there was many intrigueing things said about The Scarlet Letter, I think we could have discussed more chapters. When people were saying quotes and things that they liked it was often from the same chapter that was perviously discussed. People talked a lot about Chapters 17, 18, 23, and 16 I believe. Also Walden was only mentioned once, I believe that a lot could have been said about Walden. People could have discussed what Thoreau said about the poor, and living in seclusion, but nothing was said about it. But overall I believe the socratic seminar went well. I am still curious as to what Hawthorne had intended the climax to be in The Scarlet Letter. I researched it, but could only find other peoples opinion on what it was, which just confused me more. I got a lot out of this seminar that I believe will be very useful on the midterm.

    Karina Carrion
    period- 1

  43. The socratic seminar on Friday was such an inciteful way to get us to come out of our “bubbles.” We all had to contribute in some form so that no one would be left behind. The seminar enabled me to better understand the time period that it was written in and the piece of literature, "The Scarlet Letter". I learned more about what others thought the climax of the novel was. The climax is extremely important to know so that the novel can be further broken down into parts.

    Another meaning to Hester's scarlet letter other than "adultery" can be "Alive". Alive is defined as "full of energy and spirit". Hester definitely symbolizes life because despite her public shaming and everything that she had gone through in the beginning chapters, she decided to stay in the town and stick out her life. She spent all those 7 years rebuilding her reputation and she eventually came out strong and full of life in the end. Also, the scarlet letter could stand for "astonishing" because never once was Hester ashamed of Pearl and she never ran away from her problems. She was a strong woman and she was very dedicated, therefore that could have astonished the town.
    Jonathon Lenett
    Period 1

  44. I thought that the socratic seminar in my class went well. we talked about what was pretty much on everyone's mind abou the book.A question i didn't get to ask that i wanted to ask was do you think that Dimmesdale died a happy with the burden that was weighing on him so heavly? How do you think he felt? I think that the A could also stand for Assisting, because she helped and assisted he townspeople.
    Katherine Ruiz, p.3

  45. Friday during the socratic seminar we discussed many topics of the Scarlet Letter, one question that really had my attention was does Does Dimmesdale feel for Hester? I dont think he did in my oppion because he should have stood up with her on the scaffold and commited the crime with her, if he loved her as much as he said he did. I also think the Leter''A'' stands for assisting like Katherine said but i also think it stands for what Johnathan had said in class one side is Dimmesdale, the other side is for Hester and the middle that holds them toghther is Pearl.
    Casey Durkin
    Period: three

  46. The Socratic Seminar was overall successful. There were some awkward silences, but quick recovery into a new question. I took a lot of notes down and my hand still hurts, two days later.

    I acknowledge that I did not contribute to the seminar and hope to overcome nerves and such and try to contribute towards a seminar on "The Great Gatsby" (my excitement to get out of the Puritan time period speaks volumes on my opinions of the reading material!)

    One question I had that I'd hoped would be acknowledged was why Hawthorne begins his novel (well, Chapter 2, but still) and ends it in the same marketplace. I don't know if its even anything of importance or just to illustrate that feeling of closure or what.

    The Scarlet Letter can stand for a whole bunch of things. Hester changes a lot within the novel, as is expected from any main character, so the closest synonym for change that begins with an "A" is "Alteration".

    -B. Mendez, Pd IV

  47. Sadly, I wasn't in class for the Socratic seminar, but from what I've read it went pretty good. For once the class seemed to have stayed on topic. From reading what my classmates have written (Sahar, Vicky, Daniela, Ashley, & Oscar) besides The Scarlet Letter, another topic prevailed too, the discussion Transcendentalism and Romanticism Eras.
    As a response to Sahar’s question, what does the rosebush represent? In my opinion the rosebush next to the prison shows how nature has something beautiful even for the most marginal people. This represents that society might stereotype and prejudice, but nature never does. A question that I’ve been wanting to ask for a while now, is what the meteor symbolize?
    Besides representing adultery, able, and angel the letter A might stand for other words. These words might be adamantine, which means unbreakable and impenetrable. This might symbolize the strength of Hester to ignore society’s harsh actions and opinion.

    Alma Ricart
    4th P.

  48. I was ecstatic to take a break from our daily work to discuss some of the questions and topics students were unsure of. It was very interesting hearing the different opinions in the class such as how many antagonists were there in "The Scarlet Letter", who were they , and so much more. The Socratic Seminar had a good flow to it and there were very few "awkward silences" as opposed to our last seminar. In response to Stefania’s question, “How do you think Dimmesdale felt when Hester told him that he was Pearl's father and how did he react to it?”, Dimmesdale already knew that Pearl was his child because Pearl was born before Chillingworth got back and she was only with him during that time, and that is why he felt so guilty even before Hester told him; because Pearl is his child. After reading "The Scarlet Letter" and having the socratic seminar in class I am still left with one question. What is the meaning of "ON A FIELD, SABLE, THE LETTER A, GULES."?

    As we all know the letter "A" symbolizes many things within the novel progressed. One of the meanings to the letter could be "A" was alienated. Throughout "The Scarlet Letter" Hester was alienated from society. She was looked down upon as a social outcast. This is especially apparent when the governor debates taking Pearl away from Hester.

    Martin Perry

  49. The socratic seminar resulted in a much bigger success than I personally thought it would be. I normally do not talk very much in class altough I am outspoken with my friends, but it takes me some time to get accustomed to the flow of the discussion. The discussion ranged mainly from topics like the scarlet letter to the relationship between the authors of the romantic and trancendentalist era. There were a few occasions when the topic drifted off into another one, but in general the topics sparked up new ideas and points of view throughout the class.The only thing I was not fully sure of was the meaning of the rose bush through out the entire novel.

    Aside from the socratic seminar, I think the A has a special meaning in my opinion. The A could stand for "Aqcuire" in a way that she aqcuired a new found strong will as the novel prgresses. She found a way to be seen differently by people and accept her mistakes by working around them. She aquired knowledge about human nature by interacting with different points of view with the other characters.

    Jose Maldonado Period# 1

  50. Although I was not in the Socratic seminar, I can tell what went on by reading the comments. I personally believe that the climax of the story was in chapter 23, because, although the story is not about Dimmesdale, here is when what the reader is waiting to happen happened. It takes place where the story began, the way the story began, and at the same time completely different. Also, I would like to clarify that Dimmesdale already knew he was the father because he said, and I quote,” That my own features were partly repeated in her face.” Transcendentalism Vs. romanticism, I would go for a little bit of both, although transcendentalism came from romanticism, however, I feel that it is quite a gothic noble.

    On what the “A” represents, there are three words that have not yet been mentioned. Asocial, because this is what Hester becomes after she is repelled by the townspeople, accusative, because she was accused of something, and, most importantly, antinomianism. This one is my favorite because it was happening close to this period and was started by a puritan. It means disobeying moral and ethical laws which is exactly what Hester did.

    Nicolas Santacruz
    Period 4

  51. The Socratic seminar in your third period wasnt that bad. It started off kind of slow but once we picked up we started answering a lot of the questions that people needed answering for. The only thing that i thought that needed to change was the fact that not a lot of people talked during our seminar. Only about seven of us really did anything and those that were talking were just throwing questions out there, and if we couldnt answer the question then we would just throw out another instead of looking for an answer.