How The Scarlet Letter Is Relevant To

Today’s Teen Essay, Research Paper

How The Scarlet Letter is Relevant to Today’s Teenage ParentsNathaniel Hawthorn’s The Scarlet Letter is set in Boston, Massachusetts, a Puritan community in the 1600’s. Hester Prynne comes to the community as a young woman married to an older man. She lives in Boston for two years while her husband, know to us as Roger Chillingworth, makes his voyage from England. During this time, Hester has an affair with Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale and bears a child, Pearl. When convicted of adultery she refuses to name the father and Dimmesdale does not step forward. She is sentenced to wear a scarlet “A” forever representing her sin. Hester Prynne’s predicament is different than the teenage pregnancies of today in that the Puritan community was much more harsh in their reaction both legally and socially. Even though, many situations described by the novel are still relevant today. The most relevant part of the novel is the failure of Dimmesdale and Hester to reach their full potentials. This failure results from the isolation that Hester is put in as the wearer of the scarlet letter and the guilt and inner torment present in Dimmesdale. The narrator tells us of Hester’s loneliness when he says, “Lonely as was Hester’s situation, and without a friend on earth who dared to show himself, she, however, incurred even no risk of want.” Dimmesdale feels that he can no longer preach because of his guilt. This is shown when Dimmesdale asks, “What can a ruined soul like mine effect towards the redemption of other souls? — or a polluted soul, towards their purification?” Today, although the cause would be different, perhaps inability to complete one’s education, teenage parents would still find it difficult if not impossible to reach their full potential in life.

Although Pearl was treasured greatly by Hester, Pearl was a constant reminder of her sin. This is show when Hester says, “She is my happiness! — she is my torture, none the less!” A child of teenage parents today would also be a reminder of their mistake. The parents may have to quit school to provide for the child. Also, the teenage parents may lack parenting skills as did Hester. The narrator states, “She early sought to impose a tender but strict control…but the task was beyond her skill.” Just as most children of teenage parents today have only one parent taking responsibility for them, another contributing fact to Hester’s inability to raise Pearl may be the fact that Hester was a single parent. Hester and Dimmesdale, along with many teenage parents today, did not think about the effects that their actions would have on them and the people around them.


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