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Modern Day Scarlet Letter Examples


Sania Marri

on 4 January 2013

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Transcript of Modern Day Scarlet Letter Examples

The Homeless Reactions Visibility and Relation to Hester's "A" Jimmy's story Larry's story "It is remarkable, that person's who speculate the most boldly often conform with the most perfect quietude to the external regulations of society. The thoughts alone suffice them, without investing itself in the flesh and blood of action."
- The Scarlet Letter This social stigma is visible to all because many homeless people hold up signs for help that reveal their economic status. People react to this social stigma in a very negative way. They assume that the homeless are bad people without even hearing about their stories. They react in this manner because our society is fearful of people who are different than us. I don't think this reaction is justified because outside appearance can't determine whether a person is good or bad. Sadly, in this society it is expected for people to act this way towards people they don't know. Jimmy, a homeless man, thought he had paid for a newspaper before he had put it in his bag. He actually hadn't paid for it and the owner accused him of trying to steal it. Jimmy was banned from ever coming back into the convenience store. Simply a misunderstanding, Jimmy wanted to apologize. The owner refused to speak and stated that "THEY are always standing outside the door and once THEY steal, THEY cannot come back."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-schanes/are-homeless-people-human_b_841198.html The other day I went to a fast food store, bought a coffee and went outside to sit, drink coffee, and have a cigarette. But, they wouldn't let me. 'Move along', they said. 'You can't stay here'. All I wanted to do was to sit and have my coffee and a cigarette. And I had bought their coffee! This social stigma exists because people assume people with less money/without a house are outcasts of the rest of society. Since they "aren't like anyone else", they should be looked down upon. I believe this relates to Hester's situation because homeless people face public humiliation and discrimination just like Hester did. A lot of the times they have to hold up signs which reveals their status just like Hester's Scarlet Letter. Obesity This social stigma exists because many people will go to great lengths to prevent weight gain, and the possibility of becoming obese is considered a disastrous outcome. "Some employers may feel like being overweight is associated with being uneducated, lazy, not as ambitious, or not as disciplined", said Sharon Zarabi, a nutritionist and fitness trainer. Effect on Others around them Obesity: Not a social norm "Teachman and Brownwell found that health professionals associated "fat people" with negative attributes such as "bad" and "lazy" and "thin people" with positive attributes such as "good" and "motivated". Reactions People also react to this social stigma in a negative way. Being thin is associated with being attractive in today's society whereas being obese is seen as the opposite. Obesity is also a target of jokes in the media which makes it difficult for obese individuals to deal with their "problem". This reaction is not justified because a person's weight does not necessarily affect their motivation skills. Visibility and Relation to Hester's "A" The visibility of obese people is very visible just like Hester's "A". Negative associations are branded with the term which causes extreme guilt for the sufferers. This also happened in The Scarlet Letter when the old ladies scrutinized Hester.
"At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester's Prynne's forehead" (Hawthorne 38). Mental Illness This stigma exists because many people believe that mental illnesses don't exist. Instead, they are just trying to get attention and need help managing their emotions. Statistics.... According to the American Psychological Association, 18% of the people in the US "suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder" and close to 10 million are children. Of those enormous numbers, 30% fear the possible social rejection of admitting their illness and an alarming 20% are so frightful of stigma that they decline treatment. Input of a specialist "They're just supposed to suck it up and deal with it," said Dr. Elizabeth Jackson, a psychiatrist with the VA in Colombus. "I can't tell you how many men I've had in here who've broken down talking about something and are so ashamed because they think that means that they are very inept or very damaged or something" Reactions Others react to this social stigma by thinking the mentally ill are crazy. They are feared and looked down upon by the rest of society. They are expected to just "snap out of" their condition, but ignorant people don't realize that they are dealing with serious brain issues that cannot be easily treated/cured. As a result, their issues can get worse because of the constant criticism and self esteem issues. Visibility and Comparison to Hester's "A" This social stigma is not visible because mental illnesses, unlike physical deformities, cannot be seen with the naked eye. For this reason many mentally ill people don't seek help because they look fine on the outside and don't want to be scrutinized. This relates to Arthur Dimmesdale because he hid the fact that he had an A on his chest for fear of being rejected by society. HIV/AIDS This stigma exists because it is associated with pre-existing stigmas like homosexuality, drug use, and prostitution. Misunderstood People just don't understand it. They just put you in a box. If you've got HIV you're very promiscuous, you have been a drug user. Whereas people like X and I who were married and leading a normal life...we still end up...in the same boat." Fear The person I would never ever tell in my life is my mum. You know back home, they are highly ignorant of HIV. They don't even believe there is a way to manage your life and live longer. Once they hear that someone is HIV positive, the thing that comes into their head is death. I wouldn't want her to know about it- she might die thinking about it. Reactions HIV is a sexually transmitted disease which makes people assume that if you have HIV you are very promioscuous. It gives the appearance of low self worth. This reaction is not justified because this is not the only way it is spread and the labels given can be totally misleading. Many people are also uninformed about how HIV can be spread, which makes them appear ignorant. Visibility and Relation to Hester's "A" This social stigma is not visible like the scarlet letter. Like Dimmesdale, many people with HIV keep it bottled inside them for fear of being rejected. Women can relate to Hester specifically because having HIV makes them feel worthless and will remain with them forever, much like the scarlet letter remained with Hester. Women with HIV are there for eachother and there are many support systems for people with the condition.

"Women, more especially, --in the continually recurring trials of wounded, wasted, wronged, misplaced, or erring and sinful passion,-- or with the dreary burden of a heart unyielded, because unvalued and unsought,--came to Hester's cottage, demanding why they were so wretched, and what the remedy! Hester comforted and counseled them as best she might." -(Hawthorne 203) SO WHAT? The point being made by Hawthorne is that society is very judgmental and creates social stigmas based out of fear. Some stigmas may be expected, but others are just based off of ignorance. People should get to know the story of someone else before they jump to conclusions because dealing with these stigmas is difficult. MODERN DAY SOCIAL STIGMAS!

By Sania Marri
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