Is The Scarlet Letter Relevant To Modern

Teenage P Essay, Research Paper

Is The Scarlet Letter Relevant to Modern Teenage Pregnancies?: YESI believe The Scarlet Letter is relevant to teenage parents because many events and emotions expressed in Hawthorne’s story parallel those in modern times. Today with the increased number of teenage pregnancies comes a greater willingness to accept children born out of wedlock as a fact of life. But with these feelings there still resonates the morality of past generations. The first parallel between the reality and the fiction is the act of having children out of wedlock is still looked down upon by the majority of people today as it was in the book “… They should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne’s ( the main character in the Scarlet Letter who conceives and bares a child by a man other than her husband) forehead …” [sl02.html#g05] and the felling that Hester “… ought to die.” [sl02.html#g05] for her sin are two opinions which reflect those felt by the majority of the Puritan women. The Puritan women s hatred was based on many things. One reason for their hatred was “… this woman had brought shame upon [them] all.” This resentment of women who conceive illegitimately is still echoing today. This felling may not carry the same strength today as it did then, but echoes rarely do. The second parallel is the responsibility of the child’s upbringing generally resting with the child’s the maternal parent. As shown in the Scarlet Letter, few people, if any, wish to help the person who transgresses religion and tradition. Hester found that she “… must sustain and carry forward by the ordinary resources of her nature …” [sl05.html#g01] to raise her child herself. Single mothers today often find themselves in a similar situation. Touching upon my third parallel comes the feelings of the maternal transgressor’s father. Although the father of Hester Prynne was not a character in the book, there was a character who could be considered a father figure. Roger Chillingsworth is the name used by the actual husband of Hester Prynne. He is a man who Hester did not truly love but marries in the “old world”. He was much older than her and possessed great intellectual ability. She had not seen him in two years when she conceived and believed him to be dead. He expressed many feelings that a modern father would have. The strongest emotion expressed by Chillingsworth was the desire to discover the identity of the paternal transgressor who caused his wife to conceive and in doing so disgraced the woman with a child and the husband of her also who had not been there to take care of her. Because of the feeling that “…the man (paternal transgressor) lives who had wronged us both …” 1 the father figure, Chillingsworth, becomes engrossed with one thought in the beginning of the book which is the drive for his throughout and this is the paternal transgressor “… will be known …” 2. In that way, he is no different than a modern day father who seeks the identity of the father of his daughter s child but also vengeance on him for his dishonorable act. This particular parallel is one of, if not the, strongest echo of all.

The fourth parallel is the love many teenage parents still have for their partner after conceiving. This love is also shown by Hester by the fact that she will not relinquish her partner’s identity, to anyone– not even Chillingsworth. She is asked “.. Who is he?…” 3 (speaking of the newborn’s father) by Roger Chillingsworth in private. Hester’s reply comes swiftly and firmly, “… Ask me not! Thou shalt never know! …” [sl04.html#g22]The fifth parallel is the father’s desire to keep his identity secret. In the book, Dimmesdale, the father of Hester’s child, is a minister who earnestly fears the revelation of his fatherhood. This immense fear, in addition to a powerful feeling of guilt, causes him to decline mentally and physically. This decline brings him to the point of death and insanity. One specific admittance of fear occurs in the forest where he secretly meets with Hester. “… Dost thou know, Hester, this child … hath caused me many alarm?” [sl03.html#g05] was the question expressed by Dimmesdale to Hester speaking of their child. He feared that his “.. own features … partly repeated in her face … [sl04.html#g22] would leave no doubt to the child’s true parentage. This fear is also true of many teenage fathers today. 4. Elec. text., Chapter 4, paragraph 22. 7. Elec. text., Chapter 4, paragraph 23. 8. Elec. text., Chapter 19, paragraph 2. 9. Elec. text., Chapter 19, paragraph 2.


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