Fairness In The Scarlet Letter

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The word ‘fair’ or ‘fairness’ cannot be reduced to one definitive phrase. Although something is fair to one person, it is potentially unfair to another. No single person can interpret the word ‘fair’ due to their lack of experience in the human world as it relates to other humans. One may think they understand the concept of fairness as getting what he or she deserves, but does that person get what he or she needs? Fairness provokes contrasting opinions in various people, but one common theme is that everyone wants what benefits them. When are two people equal, or what makes something equal or unequal? Do laws make something just or unjust? When defining the word ‘fair,’ one must also define words such as ‘unfair,’ ‘justice,’ and ‘equality’…show more content…
This ‘injustice,’ which is a synonym for unfairness, can be caused by something as simple as race or gender and can be found in all parts of history. In the book The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the main protagonist, Hester Prynne, faces multiple accounts of injustice towards her and her child because Hester cheated on her husband with another man. In the beginning scene, she receives her punishment for this by being forced to stand on a scaffold with her child for everyone to look at with the scarlet letter ‘A’ embroidered on her chest. The crowd is so outraged at her adultery that one woman is heard saying “this woman brought shame upon us all, and ought to die” (Hawthorne). Further in the book, the townspeople continuously refer to Hester’s child, Pearl, as a ‘devil child,’ constantly connecting her to her mothers sin. These two characters are constantly treated with injustice and unfairness because of one sin committed years…show more content…
The double standard between men and women has always and will continue to be evident in today’s world. In the essay There is No Unmarked Woman, Deborah Tannen explores the contrast and double standard facing women when it comes to clothing in the workplace. An anecdote depicts her evaluation of the clothing worn by women at a gender-diverse conference. She then explains that she “…suddenly wondered why I was scrutinizing only the women. I scanned the eight men at the table. And then I knew why I wasn 't studying them. The men’s styles were unmarked”(553). She defines ‘marked’ by explaining that a word is ‘unmarked’ when it is in the male form of the word, but female forms of words are ‘marked’ with endings such as ‘ette’ or ‘ess,’ and are less likely to be taken seriously. She describes how the women at the conference had things such as women’s clothing, shoes, hairstyle, or makeup, making them ‘marked.’ Since the men did not wear make up, they were ‘unmarked.’ She concludes that even if a women did not wear makeup or wore comfortable clothes instead of business attire, “there is no unmarked woman”(556). This unfair behavior remains in the workplace to this day, and no woman is held to exactly the same fair standard as
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