Rappaccini's Daughter in the Classroom:
Readers Theater Applications and Other Creative Activities for
Teaching the Classic Story by Nathaniel Hawthorne

By Sharon Adelman Reyes

La Palabra Justa

DiversityLearningK12, 2016; 192pp
ISBN: 978-0-9847317-5-6

Paperback: $26.95

What would you do if you fell in love and then discovered that the person you had fallen in love with was poisonous? Not figuratively poisonous, but literally poisonous?

This question is fundamental to the story of "Rappaccini's Daughter," by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is an intriguing one for adults to consider, but it is especially evocative for adolescents.

The two central characters are young and romantically involved. And they are simultaneously caught up in a moral dilemma. This makes "Rappaccini's Daughter" an ideal choice for secondary school students, who can usually identify with both of these predicaments. But theme is not the only ingredient necessary to catch and hold our attention-the attention that precedes literary engagement. Emotional response is powerful because it is so central to our existence as human beings.  Arts-based activities tap the emotions, providing ideal opportunities for integrating passion with intellect, for exploring the meaning that characters attach to their actions-in short, for understanding and appreciating literature.

This book contains Readers Theater scripts and other reproducibles for immediate use in both secondary and middle-school classrooms where "Rappaccini's Daughter" is being read and discussed. It also contains information on teaching strategies that are easily adaptable to other literary works, as well as a list of resources for educators who wish to explore such ideas further. Teachers need not throw away the techniques they have found successful in order to use the activities described in this book. Rather, this is a collection of learning activities that are meant to augment and enrich English and Language Arts lessons. The goal, simply put, is to make learning exciting and to turn the classroom into a place where students want to be.