Sunday, October 21, 2012

Saving Hester Prynne...

Wednesday afternoon, my Practical English class finished chapter 8 of The Scarlett Letter.  On I found a e-text of the Scarlet Letter - I'm finding that this is working quite swell.  I've been modeling how I read within the text - how my brain works.  I remind the students that I'm not a genius...  That this is the fourth or fifth time reading this text, and I think this helps a bit.  It puts them at ease.

As we finished reading Chapter 8,  I realized that the last two paragraphs had some deep thoughts.  This is the chapter when all the men get together to decide if Hester should keep Pearl, or if Pearl would be better off with more fitting parents.  In the end, Reverend Dimmsdale speaks up for Hester asserting that Pearl has saved Hester's soul.  Hester leaves the house and is confronted by Mistress Hibbins to join her in the woods.

The affair being so satisfactorily concluded, Hester Prynne, with
Pearl, departed from the house. As they descended the steps, it
is averred that the lattice of a chamber-window was thrown open,
and forth into the sunny day was thrust the face of Mistress
Hibbins, Governor Bellingham's bitter-tempered sister, and the
same who, a few years later, was executed as a witch.

"Hist, hist!" said she, while her ill-omened physiognomy seemed
to cast a shadow over the cheerful newness of the house. "Wilt
thou go with us to-night? There will be a merry company in the
forest; and I well-nigh promised the Black Man that comely Hester
Prynne should make one. "

"Make my excuse to him, so please you!" answered Hester, with a
triumphant smile. "I must tarry at home, and keep watch over my
little Pearl. Had they taken her from me, I would willingly have
gone with thee into the forest, and signed my name in the Black
Man's book too, and that with mine own blood!"

"We shall have thee there anon!" said the witch-lady, frowning,
as she drew back her head.

But here -- if we suppose this interview betwixt Mistress Hibbins
and Hester Prynne to be authentic, and not a parable -- was
already an illustration of the young minister's argument against
sundering the relation of a fallen mother to the offspring of her
frailty. Even thus early had the child saved her from Satan's

 We finished reading together.  I turned to the students and sighed "Wow - I missed this.  How could I miss how important this passage is?  How could I miss this?"

So, tomorrow afternoon, we are going to think of how important a mother and child relationship is and how a mother can save a child and a child save a mother.  Will they draw conclusions into their own lives?  Will they connect the dots?  Will they realize just how important they are to their parents?

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