Hester Prynne: Lindsay Lohan before Lindsay Lohan was Lindsay Lohan

November 2nd, 2011


This is my third time reading The Scarlet Letter and, I must admit, that I fall in love with it a little bit more every time I read it. Hawthorne’s writing style and the psychological insight he offers the reader is perfection. In my eyes, it is he and not Freud that is the “father” of psychology.

It is due to the amount of times that I have analyzed this novel that, this time around, I was able to take a step back from that mindset and really just enjoy it. One thing that kept popping into my head while reading and accumulating all the instances of public shame was: why the hell do celebrities complain about their public image in today’s society when stuff like this was commonplace in a newly colonized America? If one was to read this novel as an exact example of public crime and punishment in Puritanical America and compare it to the celebrities of 2011 and the public scrutiny they are under, those suffering public humility in puritanical times definitely win the “who had it harder” game. In fact, I personally wish that the stocks still were a valid form of punishment this way I could see the Justin Biebers, Paris Hiltons, and the Lindsay Lohans suffer and actually pay for the crimes they commit against society merely by existing. If the biggest problem in their multi million dollar lives is a picture of them eating a double cheeseburger from McDonalds gracing the pages of the most recent gossip magazine, I think they should be thankful. It is rather sad to think about it in this context and see the actual decline America has made in its legal system. To clarify my previous statement, I do not think that Hester Prynne deserved the treatment, scrutiny, and isolation she received simply because she had a moment of human weakness. Furthermore, I do not think it should have been made public business especially because Hester was not a “public” figure. When celebrities become celebrities, he/she should expect to their private life to become public because he or she is asking to be a public figure!  Today, a celebrity can literally be found guilty for drug possession, DUI’s, theft, etc… and walk away from the American legal system with less than a “slap on the wrist” and be given another opportunity to commit more crimes. Somehow it is the same celebrity that commits a crime that complains about the crime being written about in the paper. Yet, when that same celebrity has a new movie coming out or is about to release a new CD, he/she expects to be on every television channel and on the front page of every printed piece of news in existence. If having an illicit love affair/love child was a crime worthy of punishment at one time, I would love to see today’s American celebrities suffer the same kind of treatment Hester had to endure. In short, Hester messed up and was publicly chastised for it. She was the Lindsay Lohan before Lindsay Lohan was Lindsay Lohan.

On another note I would also like to say that Roger Chillingworth is by far one of my most favorite villians in literature. He has every characteristic one would think a manipulator of secrey would have. He is a hybrid of the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Dr. Frankenstien. His psychological characteristics leaves one “chilled” to the core and is quite the appropriate character to be introduced to right after Halloween.

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