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English Scarlet Letter Questions

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1. People often go through five stages when they must deal with loss or change. Can you find an example of each one in the story as people try to understand the change in Mr. Hooper?

* Denial- When the sexton says “I can’t really feel as if good Mr. Hooper’s face was behind that piece of crape.” * Anger- When the minister’s wife leaves him because he will not tell her why he wears the veil. * Bargaining- “If I can change something about myself, I can prevent terrible things from happening.” * Depression- The black veil is a symbol of gloom and depression. * Acceptance- although Elizabeth seems accepting of her husband-to-be, she worries about some of the rumors and wishes to make sure Hooper is mentally stable. She tries to find out what is behind the sudden appearance of the veil but his answer does not satisfy her

2. What incidents start rumors about Mr. Hooper’s reason for wearing the veil? People think he is wearing the veil to hide from his sins. 3. Why does Elizabeth break her engagement to Mr. Hooper? Her lie to hide the affairs changes the relationship. 4. As time passes, how do people treat Mr. Hooper? Consider the actions of children and of the dying. Why do you think they treat him that way? 5. Hawthorne is careful to describe Rev. Clark of Westbury as “young and zealous.” What difference does Rev. Clark’s age make? How might a minister closer to Mr. Hooper’s age have handled the situation? An older man tends to get less zealous. 6. Why do you think Mr. Hooper will not remove the veil, even as he is dying? Hooper felt that the black veil was symbolic of sin, which we all have, and dying doesn’t change that.

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