AP Language Students Wear Scarlet Letter

Juniors in AP Language classes took on a creative project in their study of “The Scarlet Letter”, a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The students wore symbols of their sins on their shirts over the course of an entire school day.

Set in 17th century Boston, “The Scarlet Letter” is a romantic story of adultery, sin and guilt. The protagonist, Hester Prynne, is a young woman who is forced to embroider a scarlet letter “A” on her chest when she is convicted of adultery.

“The purpose of the activity was to mimic the punishment Hester Prynne faced in the “Scarlet Letter,” junior Julia Goupil said.

In order to better understand the public humiliation and openness of sin that Hester endured, the AP Language students spent the day with letter symbols of their self-identified sins on their bodies. These ranged from an embroidered “B” as a symbol of bossiness to an “S” necklace for sloth.

“We each had to choose one negative label, like a negative personality trait, and wear a letter representing that label,” Julia said. “I chose to do C for competitive. I thought it was an interesting assignment, although I’m glad it was just for the day.”