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Intertextuality – The Scarlet Letter and Easy A

Freshman twelvemonth of high school I had the chance to read the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. A short sum-up of this novel is that Hester is a married adult female, and is sent to America before her hubby. Before he gets at that place nevertheless, Hester becomes pregnant and gives birth to her babe, Pearl. Spoiler qui vive, Hester had an matter with the town curate and so her hubby shows up but does non uncover his individuality to anyone but Hester. He so seeks retaliation and attempts to calculate out who slept with his married woman. Hester is so deemed an fornicator and is forced to have on a scarlet letter A on her thorax. The scarlet letter A is symbolic of wickedness and uncleanliness. So the thought of intertextuality is that texts are based off each other, allude to each other, and associate to each other. When I saw the prevues for the film Easy A, I was pumped because I really understood the mentions in that film. The chief character Olive ( Emma Stone ) is non really promiscuous. It all starts when her friends asks her to lie about hooking up with her because he is really cheery. He does non desire people to cognize that he is cheery and he thinks that if he says they hooked up, people will believe he is consecutive. So the prevarications grow and grow because more male childs want to be able to state that they have done sexual things with her. They give her money and even gifts to be able to state what they want. The other people in the school believe all of the prevarications about Olive. The misss give her a truly difficult clip and are really average to her. Because of this, she decides to move like the prostitute they are handling her like. She decides to dress provokingly and even decides to have on the scarlet letter A on her apparels. This film is evidently really slackly based on the novel The Scarlet Letter, but it is evidently influenced by it. There are several differences and several similarities. The obvious differences are that it is an full different clip period and a different manner of life, nevertheless the manner people act towards Olive is really similar to the manner Hester was treated. Olive is basically ostracized from her school. Teachers and pupils give her average expressions and it is evident that perfectly everyone is judging her. In the novel The Scarlet Letter, Hester was decidedly stray and looked down upon. Peoples did non desire to be associated with her at all. The worst portion about the full thing was that it was the curate that was her baby’s dada. Cipher in her society knew that he had committed a wickedness excessively. A technique used in Easy A is sarcasm. In The Scarlet Letter, criminal conversation was a immense trade. It was non considered good story at all and could literally destroy someone’s life. So the manner that Easy A takes a lighter temper to show this same construct is truly challenging. Throughout the film there are amusing elements that make this construct non look so serious, even though I do experience it is a existent issue today. I mean some work forces can be really promiscuous and it is seen as a positive property, while adult females making the same things is looked down upon in today’s society. The symbol of the ruddy letter A is highly of import and is likely the most obvious mark that these two plants are similar. Like I briefly stated above, the ruddy letter A has become a cosmopolitan symbol that screams whore in today’s society. Back in the twenty-four hours they used a nicer word such as fornicator, but basically it meant the same thing. I think that it is of import to observe that the adult females had to have on it on the exterior of their vesture to demo to the full universe. It was non adequate that everyone in these women’s lives knew that ( or thought that ) they had sinned, but they had to have on the stupid letter A every individual twenty-four hours. At the terminal of the novel of The Scarlet Letter, Hester comes back to the town to populate until she dies, and she puts her ruddy A back on her shirt! This was non merely a symbol of an act of love or error but it literally became her full individuality. This is besides a important facet in Easy A. In high school, your repute is who you are. The similarities between these two plants are so important because it goes beyond being promiscuous. It finally presents how society positions adult females that act like work forces and are criticized for making so, and how that the dual criterions for adult females have non drastically changed in respect to gender.


For Hester, to take the scarlet letter would be to admit the power it has in finding who she is. The letter would turn out to hold successfully restricted her if she were to go a different individual in its absence. Hester chooses to go on to have on the letter because she is determined to transform its significance through her actions and her ain self-perception—she wants to be the 1 who controls its significance. Society tries to repossess the letter’s symbolism by make up one's minding that the “A” stands for “Able, ” but Hester resists this reading. The letter symbolizes her ain yesteryear title and her ain yesteryear determinations, and she is the 1 who will find the significance of those events. Upon her return from Europe at the novel’s terminal, Hester has gained control over both her personal and her public individualities. She has made herself into a symbol of feminine repression and charitable ideals, and she stands as a self-appointed reminder of the immoralities society can perpetrate.

Typically, America is conceptualized as a topographic point of freedom, where a person’s chances are limited merely by his or her aspiration and ability—and non by his or her societal position, race, gender, or other fortunes of birth. In the Puritan society portrayed in the novel, nevertheless, this is non the instance. In fact, it is Europe, non America, that the book presents as a topographic point of possible. There, namelessness can protect an person and let him or her to presume a new individuality. This unexpected inversion leads the characters and the reader to oppugn the rules of freedom and chance normally identified with America. Hester’s experiences suggest that this state is founded on the ideals of repression and parturiency. Additionally, the narrator’s ain experiences, coming about two hundred old ages after Hester’s, confirm those of his supporter. His fellow imposts officers owe their occupations to patronage and household connexions, non to deserve, and he has acquired his ain place through political Alliess. Therefore, the customshouse is portrayed as an establishment that embodies many of the rules that America purportedly opposes.

The Puritans in this book are invariably seeking out natural symbols, which they claim are messages from God. Yet these characters are non willing to accept any disclosure at face value. They interpret the symbols merely in ways that confirm their ain preformulated thoughts or sentiments. The meteor that streaks the sky as Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold in Chapter 12 is a good illustration of this phenomenon. To Dimmesdale and to the townsfolk, the “A” that the meteor hints in the sky represents whatever impression already preoccupies them. To the curate, the meteor exposes his wickedness, while to the townsfolk it confirms that the colony’s former governor, who has merely died, has gone to heaven and been made an angel.

For the storyteller, on the other manus, symbols map to perplex world instead than to corroborate one’s perceptual experience of it. The governor’s garden, which Hester and Pearl see in Chapter 7, illustrates his tactic rather good. The storyteller does non depict the garden in a manner that reinforces the image of luxury and power that is present in his description of the remainder of the governor’s house. Rather, he writes that the garden, which was originally planted to look like an cosmetic garden in the English manner, is now full of weeds, irritants, and veggies. The garden seems to belie much of what the reader has been told about the governor’s power and importance, and it suggests to us that the governor is an unfit caretaker, for people every bit good as for flowers. The absence of any flowers other than the thorny roses besides intimations that ideals are frequently accompanied by immorality and hurting. Confronted by the equivocal symbol of the garden, we begin to look for other incompatibilities and for other illustrations of decay and disrepair in Puritan society.


Turning up in Marblehead, Massachusetts, following door to ill-famed Salem, meant that our high school English instructors were contractually obligated to jam a Nathaniel Hawthorne novel down our pharynxs every September, followed up with a annual zephyr through The Crucible. Once I’d escaped that drab tradition I assumed I would ne'er read any Hawthorne ( or Miller for that affair ) once more. But this Friday I saw a film that changed my feelings for Hawthorne and even high school wholly, a film that I am so eager for you to watch that I am willing to make the unthinkable: read The Scarlet Letter once more.

The film is Easy A, starring Emma Stone, a immature actress whose appeal and endearing smiling makes you want to seek being 18 once more, but this clip with even a ten percent of her assurance. Seriously, imagine high school lived as a glorious daredevil runaway. I’d have thought it was impossible, but so I watched Easy A on Friday, and its afterglow floated me through the weekend. Frankly, I may, wish Barney in How I Met Your Mother, state my new friends in DC fictional narratives about my teenage old ages that begin, “Well, my cheery friend was being picked on, so we decided to feign to hold sex at the popular kids’ weekend party to do him look straight.”

Hawthorne begins his morality narrative in Boston, near to his ain hometown of Salem, where he claims to detect a “mysterious package” incorporating “a certain matter of all right ruddy fabric, much worn and faded, hints about it of gold embellishment, which, nevertheless, was greatly frayed and defaced, so that none, or really small of the glister was left.” The object is accompanied by the history of Hester Prynne, to whom we are introduced as she is led out of prison to the mockeries of her fellow townsfolk. “There are few ugly traits of human nature than this tendency” Hawthorne notes “ to turn cruel simply because they possessed the power of bring downing harm.”

Hester’s narrative shows us the inhuman treatment and lip service of authorization, the dangers of maintaining secrets, the futility of flight from our ain history. As I re-read the book, I began to see why instructors would conceive of it a utile one for high school pupils, despite its instead aged prose. The best lesson, I think, is that Hester adapts to her fortunes. Expected to turn “dimmed and obscured by a black cloud, were astonished, and even startled, to comprehend how her beauty shone out, and made a aura of the bad luck and shame in which she was enveloped.” Staying an castaway, Hester raises her girl Pearl entirely, declining to call the child’s male parent. Pearl, “an elf of immorality, emblem and merchandise of wickedness, ” grows up a life incarnation of the scarlet letter – truthful, fearless, and absolutely cut off from social restraints.

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