The Scarlett Letter Argumentative Essay
In the Scarlett Letter by Hawthorn, public humiliation is used as a form of punishment. In that place and time period, the seventeenth century, Puritanical Boston, Massachusettes, this form of punishment was quite common. There was no separation of church and state at that time and since Puritan beliefs were based on good versus evil, it was a common practice to humiliate, chastise, and berate people as a scare tactic to keep order. Fast forward to the Twenty First Century. We clearly have seperation of church and state. People are not allowed to be discriminated against in any way, shape or form. We have constitutional rights that allow for freedom of speech. Our society ,in this country, is one based on the form of government know as Democracy. Yet, individuals have taken it upon themselves to publically humiliate a family member or a loved one to teach them a lesson and punish that family member. Is this acceptable for our modern society? What do you think? Although it is being used today, there are other punative methods that are much more effective.
Cases of public humiliation today are cropping up via the new media. In an article posted by Fox News on April 21, 2012 , it was stated that a judge ordered a man that had killed another man because he was driving under the influence of alcohol, to wear a sign admitting that he killed the man for four Saturdays in a row from 9:00 A.M. To 5:00 P.M. ,while at the crash site, as part of his sentence. The same judge also ordered that the convicted man hang a picture of the crash in his living room. (MyFoxaustin.com) While revisiting the crime scene and having the constant reminder of what this man, Giacona, did via the picture hanging in his living room probably had a significant impact on Giacona, whether he was wearing a sign while visiting the site ,more than likey ,was not the most significant part of the punishment. Being shamed while being in front of one's peers is quite embarassing at the time it is happening, but is quite soon forgotten after it is over.
In another recent article, a man that had continually speed raced through a shopping area in Florida was made to wear a sign saying, “Dont' street race” for fifty consecutive Sundays form 1:00 A.M. To 2:00 A.M. near the shopping Center that he raced. How many people actually saw this man at this late time was not mentioned in the article. The 24 year old, Rivera, himself even stated “no Problem” when asked to do it. He was thankful for this punshment rather than getting automatically sent back to jail. "It's more of a public humiliation than a public service," said Kimberly Lavender, a spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union, Florida, in Miami. "... Wouldn't it serve the community better if this person was doing community service in a hospital?" (Associated Press, March 2 2005) The community service would have actually accomplished something towards doing good for others in that community. Making a real difference to someone else is all part of the paying back and trying to make up for the wrong doings that people make. Community service is a great example of how retribution is more effective form of punishment than is public humiliation.
One might still say that public humiliation is worth a shot in today's society with all of the social problems, high crime rates, etc. etc. . At the very least a person may be able to relate to the judges, in cases mentioned here, using these unconventional and old school ways to try and keep people from repating these types of crimes because nothing else seems to stop some individuals' behaviors. On the other hand though, is it really making a difference long term? Is there any real evidence or research to support that using this type of public humiliation is reducing the number of these types of crimes? The answer is no. Individuals who take similar actions with their loved...
Cited: NG, Christina, ABC.com blog, 12, Jan. 2012
Thompson, Paul, MyFoxdc.com. 28, Aug., 2009
Associated Press, MyFoxaustin.com, 2 March, 2005
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