Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter
Pre-reading Activity
Analysis of the Time Periods

In order to understand the novel The Scarlet Letter, you will need to know about the time period in which it was set as well as the time period in which it was written. Before you begin your research, however, there are some questions that you need to answer about your own beliefs.

1. How does our society view the following concepts? How are these concepts portrayed in books? Magazines? TV shows? Movies?

· Sin
· Adultery
· Illegitimacy
· Guilt
· Punishment
· Crime
· Evil
· Forgiveness
· Revenge
· Justice

Television has been known for glorifying crimes and sinful behavior (take True Blood for example). Adultery is still frowned upon but that doesn’t stop to media from blowing it up into a sensational scandal. Illegitimacy is not as bad as the older times portray it to be, it was a disgrace then if a couple conceived and were not bound in holy matrimony, today people just shrug off if this happens; it’s almost a common occurrence. Guilt as modern society depicts is usually entwined with sexual relations and is still something that people do not condone on one another just because of the psychological torment that the person experiencing guilt goes through. Punishment and crime go hand in hand (I know this is a scientific law, but with proper application it can be applied to the modern world) “For every reaction there is an opposite and equal reaction,” with that stated every crime that is committed should be accompanied by a just punishment, TV shows like CSI always show the bad guy getting arrested and convicted, that’s how it is in books and even movies too. In the real world though; it seldom plays out that way. Evil is just a force in fairy tales, we hardy use the word, unless in a jokingly way. Unlike the old days when if something went wrong it was the work of the devil. Forgiveness is hard but revenge is easy, so many movies show revenge, getting back at the person who wronged you; it typically makes the problem worse and only provides satisfaction for the person that is getting back. Forgiveness is the hardest thing to do because you forgive but never forget. Often showed is feel-good movies and in the truest form; the difficulties one must go through to forgive someone is not pleasant. We’ve all read a comic book that ends with “so at the end of the day; justice is served” or something along those lines, but that exist in a world of fiction. Too many times it does not get dished out and that truly is saddening. 2. Are there degrees of “sin”? Explain. There seems to be implied levels, nearly every crime is a sin, but the degree and punishment that the sin receives is on different levels. This implies that there are in fact degrees. In today’s society you wouldn’t execute a person for having an affair and you wouldn’t put someone filing a civil case in prison. The extent of the crime determines the necessary and appropriate sentence. 3. Are there crimes that should receive the death penalty? Yes, there are crimes that deserve the death penalty; I believe in the “Eye for an eye” philosophy. So crimes in which someone’s life is intentionally taken, capital punishment should be the only logical sentence. It makes no since for a murderer to walk free or live in a prison abusing the taxpayers dollar. 4. Do people have the right to punish a person that they believe has betrayed them? To go out and seek vigilante justice is not something a person should do over such a slight matter such as this. Cases that have this sort of background should be settled in the legal system. 5. Which rules or laws should be absolutes? Should there be flexibility within laws? Can we guarantee fairness and equity? Laws such as the death penalty and those governing molestation cases should be set in stone and unbending to assure that justice will be reached. Yes; some laws should have loop holes and flexibility because let’s face it rules were made...
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