Public Shaming In Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

1291 Words 6 Pages
All eyes were gleaming upon me, watching my sins placed before my bosom, the scarlet letter. My heart was pumping out of my chest, palms beginning to sweat as I walked up the creaky, vintage stairs on the way to my punishment. Public shaming. There are many long lasting effects as shown in Source A, The Scarlet Letter, Source B, Monica Lewinsky’s TED Talk, and Source C, an article entitled “Is the Internet a Mob Without Consequence?” In The Scarlet Letter, Governor Bellingham requires Hester Prynne to wear a scarlet letter A on her bosom to represent her sin of adultery. In Source B, Lewinsky talks about the effects that public shaming has on a person socially, personally and professionally. Lastly, in Source C, there is a controversy on whether …show more content…
In Source A, the Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne displays both public and private guilt which characters express because they were publicly shamed. “In a moment,however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would but properly serve to hide another...with a burning bush, and a yet haughty smile, and glance that would not be abashed, looked around at her townspeople and neighbors. On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread appeared the letter A” (Source A, Page 50). Hawthorne used this quote to show that Hester is trying to hide her crime of adultery and accept it but, the scarlet letter reminds her of her sin every time she looks at her bosom. All the townsfolk jeer at Hester since she wears the Scarlet Letter which makes her feel insecure about herself and have private guilt. Punishments as public shaming are disregarded in today 's society for sins similar to Hester’s so not as many people experience the fear and anxiety that they would with public shaming. This situation can be viewed from the opposing, yet similar, viewpoint that public guilt occurs when Hester is being shamed since she feels public guilt since the townsfolk are critiquing her, putting her down and jeering at her for her crime. Furthermore, in Source B, “The Price of Public Shame” talk by Monica Lewinsky, the ideas …show more content…
Source C, the article “Is the Internet a Mob Without Consequence?”, tells the stories of some people that have been affected by public shame on the internet for accidents that they have made. The author writes about “Justine Sacco, the former communications director for InterActiveCorp” who tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”. After this tweet, “the Internet turned into a voracious and vengeful mob” and “people threatened to rape, shoot, kill and torture her” as they showed Sacco what her tweet really meant to them (Source C). All of the malign pain that the community gave to Sacco hit her socially since the mob began threatening her family and professionally and personally for she “deleted all her entire social footprint online, including her Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and was fired from her job, effective 12 hours earlier” (Source C). All of these punishments affected Sacco unacceptably because she was making the tweet as a joke, she was not trying to be racist or make fun of a religion. Similarly, in Source B, Monica Lewinsky’s TED Talk “The Price of Public Shame”, Lewinsky revealed how she was affected socially, professionally, and personally after she fell in love with her boss and was publicly shamed for about 8 or more years of her life. Monica stated

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