Selected Tales and Sketches

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The short fiction of a writer who helped to shape the course of American literature. With a determined commitment to the history of his native land, Nathaniel Hawthorne revealed, more incisively than any writer of his generation, the nature of a distinctly American consciousness. The pieces collected here deal with essentially American matters: the Puritan past, the Indians, the Revolution. But Hawthorne was highly - often wickedly - unorthodox in his account of life in early America, and his precisely constructed plots quickly engage the reader's imagination. Written in the 1820s, 30s, and 40s, these works are informed by themes that reappear in Hawthorne's longer works: The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables and The Blithedale Romance. And, as Michael J. Colacurcio points out in his excellent introduction, they are themes that are now deeply embedded in the American literary tradition.
Curriculet Details
104 Questions
72 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in eleventh and twelfth grades, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining imagery, symbolism, and irony. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about literal versus figurative language and simile versus metaphor. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of theme, textual evidence, and point of view. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

The curriculet is being added to your library

The Hollow of the Three Hills

Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
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Why is the young woman troubled? 
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Why is the young lady apart from her parents? 
How does the second scene the young lady visits explain her exile from her loved ones? 
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Who does the young lady wish to see last? 
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What kills the young lady? 

Sir William Phips

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According to the narrator, what does history and it's retelling do to a man's character? 
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Why is it important to Hawthorne that he tell us what he can of Sir William's life prior to this sketch? 
The reference to Gideon's fleece is a reference to the Bible. Gideon required proof from God by leaving his fleece on the wet ground and finding it dry the next morning. How does this reference illustrate the faith of the settlers in the highlighted passage? (This annotation contains an image)
This highlighted passage mentions the "dealings of Satan in the town of Salem." This is a reference to the Salem Witch Trials. Nineteen men and women were sentenced to death after accusations of witchcraft.  (This annotation contains an image)
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What is Sir William's intent in greeting his old friend and giving him a shilling in public? 
Why does Sir William send Captain Short to prison? 

Mrs. Hutchinson

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What is the narrator's opinion of female ambition? 
Read the highlighted passage. How does the textual evidence help us infer Mrs. Hutchison's motivation for moving to Massachusetts? (This annotation contains a video)
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How does Mrs. Hutchinson support her claims and statements? 
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Use the Define tool. Which of the following would be a synonym for veneration in this context? 
Queen Mary I ruled England and Scotland. During her reign, her killing of Protestants earned her the nickname "Bloody Mary." (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Mrs. Hutchinson brought to trial? 
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Why does Mrs. Hutchison leave the Rhode Island colony? 
What is the irony in the ending of Mrs. Hutchinson's story? 

The Wives of the Dead

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How did the husbands die? 
Why does Margaret not wake Mary with the good news of her husband's survival? 
What does the ending suggest happened? 

My Kinsman, Major Molineux

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What surprises Robin in his encounter with the old man? 
What draws Robin to the stranger in the doorway? 
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Who do the bar folks think Robin is? 
Given the description in the highlighted passage, what is the woman's profession? 
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What is Hawthorne inferring by the description of the lady Robin meets in this highlighted passage? 
How does the imagery about the change in the stranger from the bar increase our sense of danger or urgency as it does for Robin? 
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What is happening to Robin as he waits? 
Why do you think the stranger says that Robin can trust his word? 
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From what Robin sees of Major Molineaux, why does the Major suffer? 

Roger Malvin’s Burial

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Read the highlighted passage. What does Hawthorne mean by the highlighted phrase? 
Why is Roger insistent Rueben leave him and go home? 
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Why does Roger say Reuben could find help? 
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Why is it important to Reuben that he knows Roger will die? 
Why does Reuben only tell half truths when recounting what happened? 
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What is Reuben's guilt doing to him? 
Why is Reuben carrying guilt about what happened? 
Why does Reuben love Cyrus so singularly? 
Watch the video on foreshadowing then reread the highlighted passage. How does this passage foreshadow upcoming events? (This annotation contains a video)
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What does the highlighted passage indicate is happening to Reuben? 
Is it Heaven or guilt that is driving Reuben's actions? 
Why is Reuben acting so calmly? 
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What price does Reuben pay for forgiveness? 

Passages from a Relinquished Work

The inference of innumerable stripes is that the parson beat his kids with a belt or switch.  
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In the speaker's youth, what was the principle issue with his guardian? 
Watch the video on imagery. How does the highlighted passage use imagery to express the speaker's feelings of freedom? (This annotation contains a video)
Don Quixote is the heroic main character of Cervantes' novel. Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho are fanciful believing in dragons and damsels in distress. (This annotation contains an image)
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Where is the home that the fellow traveller mentions? 
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Why does the speaker say the youth was of doubtful sex? 
Why is the choice to burn the letter a choice between good and evil? 

Mr. Higginbotham’s Catastrophe

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Which of the following is a synonym for the word "tattler" in the highlighted passage? 
Seven league boots is a reference to an European folklore belief. The seven league boots help the wearer by making every step they take equal seven leagues (or 23.61 miles). How should this information caution Dominicus Pike? 
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Why does the man retreat from Dominicus Pike? 
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What is Dominicus Pike's fatal flaw? 
Why does Dominicus Pike struggle so much with the idea that Mr. Higginbotham is alive?  

The Haunted Mind

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Why does the narrator wish Father Time would fall asleep? 
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Which literary device is being used to illustrate what is inside the human heart? 
Who is the "her" being referenced? 

Alice Doane’s Appeal

How is the description of what the weeds are doing to the land and the fact that it is Gallows Hill affect what the main message is? 
This is a reference to the Gunpowder revolt in England in the 17th century. The plot was to overthrow King James in favor of a pro-Catholic leader that would practice religious tolerance. 
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Why does Leonard object to the suitor for Alice's heart? 
Why does Leonard seek the aid of the wizard? 
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How would you describe the tone in the highlighted passage? How does imagery help to produce this tone? 
Why is the highlighted passage ironic? (This annotation contains a video)
Quiz One 

The Gray Champion

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Which set of words best support the tone Hawthorne is trying to convey in the opening paragraph? 
What is the crowd's greatest fear when gathering for the Governor? 
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Hawthorne writes that _________ is the ruin of a community's moral. 
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Why has the Grey Champion come? 

Young Goodman Brown

Why does Faith wish Young Goodman Brown to wait until the morning to leave? 
Below is an artist's depiction of the forest Young Goodman Brown is traveling through. (This annotation contains a link)
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How is Faith a symbol? 
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What is Goodman Brown's companion telling him? 
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The highlighted passage suggests Faith has joined the other sinners. What do you think is happening? 
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Whose faith is being tested in the woods? 
Did the Devil win Young Goodman Brown's soul in the end? 

Wakefield

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What type of man is Wakefield? 
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Hawthorne speaks directly to Wakefield. He once again mentions Wakefield's insignificance. What might this mention mean about Wakefield? 
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Why does Wakefield challenge fate by returning home? 
How does Wakefield justify his continued absence from his wife? 

The Notch of the White Mountains

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When describing the path in the White Mountains, what imagery does Hawthorne use? Is it meant to inspire or create fear in the reader? 
Why should only the loftiest of American heroes be thought of when looking at mountains? 

The Ambitious Guest

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What is unique about the place the family chooses to settle? 
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What does the description of the young visitor tell us of his personality? 
Below is an example of a flume. (This annotation contains an image)
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What has the young visitor's ambitious nature done to the family's outlook? 
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What is the irony in what happened? 

The May-Pole of Merry Mount

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What thought springs to the Lord and Lady amidst the merriment of the May Pole? 
How does the vision of Puritan life differ from that of Merry Mount? 
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Why does Endicott regret cutting down the Maypole? 
Which punishment is worse for the young couple: being whipped or being taken as hostages and transformed into Puritans? 

The Minister’s Black Veil - A PARABLE

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What is the cause of disturbance for the villagers? 
Does Mr. Hooper understand what he's doing? 
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What is the one thing the villagers have not done? 
Why is Mr. Hooper wearing the veil? What is his point? 
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Why does Elizabeth leave? 
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What effect does the minister's veil have on the people around Mr. Hooper? 
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In Mr. Hooper's opinion, who has really worn the black veil all this time? 

Sunday at Home

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Hawthorne is writing this story in first person. What does he infer about the Sabbath sun? 
Why does the clergyman earn Hawthorne's respect, but not love? 
What do you think Hawthorne means when he says the black parishioners hope that in heaven they will be white? 

The Man of Adamant - AN APOLOGUE

Below is an artist's depiction of Elijah's cave. Reference to the prophet Elijah who spent a great deal of time meditating and praying prior to his great religious battles with heretics. (This annotation contains an image)
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Why is the condition of the cave being used in comparison to Richard Digby? 
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Richard thinks he is keeping evil at bay by refusing to leave the cave, but what is the narrator's opinion?  

Endicott and the Red Cross

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Why do the colonists fear the Archbishop of Canterbury? 
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Why are the man and woman being punished? 
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This news dreadful because the people will  
Quiz Two 

Night Sketches

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What is the "Slough of Despond" an analogy for? 
What is the writer's excuse for not saving the young couple from their fall? 

Edward Randolph’s Portrait - FROM LEGENDS OF THE PROVINCE-HOUSE

Is the speaker eager to be at his friend's house? What leads you to your conclusion? 
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Why is the painting important? 
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Why does Alice think the painting should be restored? 
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How is what Hutchinson is saying the same as the mistake by the portrait's master? 
Should Hutchinson heed the warnings of the people around him? 

The Hall of Fantasy

Why are the travelers interested in the fountain? 
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Which synonym most fits the word "fantastic" in this highlighted passage? 
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What is the narrator saying about his trust in his fellow man? 
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Why does the narrator rebuke his traveling companion? 

The Birth-mark

Watch the video below. We have seen many symbols in Hawthorne's stories. As you read this story, focus on the symbol of the birth mark. (This annotation contains a video)
Below is an artist's depiction of the birthmark. (This annotation contains an image)
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Why does Georgiana stress that the consequence of the birthmark's removable might be great? 
What is Aylmer's behavior doing to his wife's love for him? 
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What is Georgiana's reaction to reading her husband's journals? 
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What happens to Georgiana when the birth mark is removed? 

Egotism; or, The Bosom-Serpent - FROM THE UNPUBLISHED “ALLEGORIES OF THE HEART”

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Which literary device is Hawthorne using to describe the disturbed man? 
Watch the following video on simile and metaphor then answer the question. (This annotation contains a video)
What might the snake in the bosom symbolize? 
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What has caused Roger to have a snake in his bosom? 
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What does it mean if nobody in the city can escape Roderick? 
Why does Roderick say his artist friend does not have a snake in his heart? What does this statement show of Hawthorne's opinion of artists? 

The Christmas Banquet - FROM THE UNPUBLISHED “ALLEGORIES OF THE HEART”

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What is the purpose of the banquet? 
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Despite his youth, what causes the young man misery? 
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Why does he bear an inner trial for the murder he committed? 
How does Gervais Hastings affect the melancholy people? 
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What is Gervayse Hastings' misery? 

The Celestial Rail-road

Watch the video on literal and figurative meanings. Which do you think Mr. Smooth-it-away is using? (This annotation contains a video)
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Which literary device is the traveler using to describe the train? 
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What do the town of Shun Repentance and Celestial City symbolize? 
The train is taking them through the town of Vanity. How are each of these cities tempting or dangerous? 
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What are the purposes of these other towns? 
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What does Mr. Smooth-it-away mean when he says they will meet again? 

Earth’s Holocaust

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What is the grave man speaking out against? 
In whose name are they burning everything? 
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Why is a minority of the population disgruntled? 
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What is the retired commander saying about battle? 
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Why does the man want to rid the world of gallows and government devices? 
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What is the problem with reforming one part of society? 
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Where does the true evil lie? 

The Artist of the Beautiful

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Why does Owen take over the watch shop when he despises time? 
What happens to the imagination and dreams when they meet with reality? 
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Why does Owen believe Peter Hovenden and the harsh world ruin him? 
Why is Owen so crushed that Annie doesn't understand his passion? 
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Why does Owen destroy the mechanism he was building? 
How does the writer feel about men who give up their belief in the invisible? 
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Why is Peter so malicious towards Owen's passion for the beautiful? 
Is the practical is more important than the beautiful or is the beautiful more important than the practical? 
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Does the child purposefully kill the butterfly? 

Rappaccini’s Daughter - FROM THE WRITINGS OF AUBÉPINE

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How does the garden differ from Doctor Rappucini? 
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How dos Beatrice treat the plants? 
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Why is Baglioni's advice tainted? 
If animals die at Beatrice's feet, does that indicate great good or great evil? 
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What is happening to Guiiliani in the days after his encounter with Beatrice? 
What is Baglioni's true motivation in interfering with Giovanni's affairs? 
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What Does Giovanni realize about the plants in Rappaccini's garden? 
Is Beatrice being over-dramatic or warning him earnestly? 
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What suspicions are growing in Giovanni's mind after his attempts of romance with Beatrice? 
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Does the Professor's story about the poisoned daughter support the theory that there is something wrong with Beatrice? 
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What is happening to Giovanni since the Professor's visit? 
Is it the Professor's influence or his own fears that motivates Giovanni to be cruel? 
Who is the more evil- Rappaccini or the Professor? 

Ethan Brand - A CHAPTER FROM AN ABORTIVE ROMANCE

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Why does the man's laughter scare the boy? 
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Where did Ethan Brand find the Unpardonable Sin? 
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What is the Unpardonable Sin? 
When Ethan Brand begins to doubt himself, he is reminded of his actions. How do the visages of the other men show he is right that he has found the Unpardonable Sin? 
What happens to Ethan Brand? 
Quiz 3