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Puritan Life: The Scarlet Letter, The Crucible, and the Salem Witch Trials

The Scarlet Letter

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Fleeing religious persecution in England, the Puritans arrived in America with the goal of creating "a city on a hill," a society built on Christian principles that would be an example to all the world. While perfection was their goal, reality persisted. The superstitions of the old world and the hardships of the new world threatened to tear their dream apart.

The Puritans' desire to be a symbol and to build a better society became a vital part of America's spirit. The faith of the Puritans informed the Founding Fathers when they considered the "unalienable rights" that are "endowed by Our Creator." Even to this day, America operates as a beacon of democracy to the rest of the world, and our culture's worldwide influence, whether good or bad, cannot be denied.

The materials on this page will assist teachers in teaching The Scarlet Letter, The Crucible, and the Salem Witch Trials.

THE SCARLET LETTER: PART I This script-story dramatizes the first portion of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. To purchase all four script-stories that dramatize the entire novel, visit the website store HERE.

DESIGN YOUR OWN SCARLET LETTER This assignment asks students to create their own letter representing something for which they have a weakness.

THE SCARLET LETTER DISCUSSION QUESTIONS  This list of questions helps students analyze and connect to the novel in various ways.

THE SCARLET LETTER ESSAY PROMPTS  These essay prompts ask students to analyze the novel from different viewpoints and back up their claims with examples from the text. 

HOW TO SPOT A WITCH This article highlights some of the absurdly humorous (but historical) ways by which witch hunters searched for potential witches.

HOW TO SPOT A WITCH PRESENTATION This presentation highlights some of the now-humorous ways by which witch hunters searched for potential witches.

THE GREAT WITCH CRAZE This worksheet examines the spread of belief in witches thanks to a book called the Malleus Maleficarum ("The Hammer of the Witches").

"A WITCH TRIAL AT MOUNT HOLLY" BY BENJAMIN FRANKLIN   This fake news article by Benjamin Franklin mocks the faulty logic used in witch trials. It is also one of America's first hoaxes.

THE CRUCIBLE CAST LIST  This brief presentation gives a brief overview of a few of the main characters from The Crucible using pictures from the Daniel Day-Lewis film. For more information on this film, click here.

THE CRUCIBLE ESSAY QUESTIONS These essay questions ask students to analyze the events and characters of The CrucibleFor more information on this film, click here.

The Salem Witch Trials PlaySALEM WITCH TRIALS SCRIPT-STORY (SALE ITEM) This historically-accurate dramatization of the real-life hysteria surrounding the Salem Witch Trials is the perfect way to teach your students the historical facts. It also includes reading guide questions with a key.

Salem Witch Trials Card GameWITCH HUNT: A SALEM WITCH TRIALS GAME (SALE ITEM)  Want a surefire way to interest your students in the Salem Witch Trials and The Crucible? Use this social-deduction game to immerse your students in the hysteria that shook Salem Village, Massachusetts in 1692. Soon they will be wondering, "Who is a witch? And who is an innocent villager?"

SALEM WITCH TRIALS This worksheet gives a brief overview of the events of the Salem Witch Trials.

CONVERSION DISORDER ARTICLE This article from The Week magazine discusses a phenomenon called "Conversion Disorder," which may have some connections to the events of the Salem Witch Trials.  


THE SCARLET LETTER SCRIPT-STORY COLLECTION INCLUDED IN SEARCHING FOR AMERICA: VOLUME ONE, THE NEW WORLD Included in this textbook is a collection of four script-stories that adapt Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel into an easier-to-comprehend version, which preserves the author's original voice while making it accessible to high-school audiences. Each script-story comes with its own teacher guide, which includes relevant background information, plot summary, character and symbol analysis, recall questions, and discussion questions. For a print version of this text, click here to visit