Our Own Scarlet Letters

By Caroline Steinmetz ’17

Currently some sophomores in English class are reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This book set during the  puritan times is about a middle age woman who is discriminated against and forced to wear a red A on her clothes due to committing adultery. Now with a child and outcasted from society the novel tells of her life and her struggles. One day in class Mrs. Brandel, the American Literature teacher, brought up how we all have our own Scarlet Letters. If you think about it, we all have something we’ve done that we are ashamed of. While Hester wore her letter on her chest we hide our letters afraid of judgement and criticism. Sometimes the guilt we keep inside from our scarlet letters is worse then the reaction society would have if we shared. After discussing and playing a game the class took about 10 minutes and wrote about our own scarlet letters. This class was very inspiring. After writing down their problems students felt both relief and alarm. Sharing your problems, even just with paper, made many feel better but also made everything seem real. Seeing your problems and regrets on a page can be scary and intimidating, however, it also helps you express your feelings and move on with your life. The interesting part about the Scarlet Letter is that even though the book was written in 1850 we can still relate to how Hester must have felt to have one poor decision haunt her the rest of her life. This great class with Mrs. Brandel was inspiring and helpful to many students.


Photo Credits: “Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter.” Schoolworkhelper. Web. 4 Nov. 2014. <http://schoolworkhelper.net/symbolism-in-the-scarlet-letter/&gt;.

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