Public Shaming In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne illustrates how effective public shaming really is. Hester Prynne is outcast from society and is forced to wear the scarlet letter “A” on her chest representing her crime of adultery. In the 17th century, the Puritans used public shaming as an effort to try to reform criminals. Today, public shaming is used more to bring attention and humiliation to a crime. In today’s world, public shaming could attract more attention because of the rapid spread of information. Public shaming is still a fair punishment for felons. First off, The punishment of public shaming should still be used because it is quicker and cheaper than other punishments. Oppose to serving 4-8 years of jail time a criminal could hold a sign on a curb for 3 hours a…show more content…
As a result of public shaming being a more effective punishment, criminals are less likely to repeat the offense. Public shaming could result in a criminal to have a traumatic experience. Unlike other forms of punishment, public shaming allows for a criminal to truly feel what they did was wrong and it “can be a strong motivator for good behavior” (Diana Kwon). A criminal could be sentenced to 4-8 years of jail time and remain unchanged, but with public shaming the criminal receives publicity that is “so unpleasant that it qualifies as punishment” (Greg Beato). Because of this, Some people would argue that with public shaming a punishment is extended beyond the sentence. The reason they argue this is that with the inclusion of social media, a criminal and their family could be harassed after the sentence has been served. Public shaming is very different from public harassment. Public shaming “is ostensibly a moral exercise intended to enforce certain social norms” (Suzy Khimm). Also, Although they may be harassed, the criminal did commit a crime and is entitled to a form of
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