Gossip Girl: Our introduction to The Scarlet Letter.
Today, people would probably call Hester Prynne, the main character of The Scarlet Letter, a slut.
She’s the girl you see in the hallways of your high school. The one with the bad reputation. The one who’s rumored to be dating that one guy, but who’s definitely sleeping with another. She’s an outcast. The one you whisper about. The one you don’t understand…maybe even fear. She’s the one you don’t want to be, but whom you find oddly fascinating.
Everyone talks about her. Judges her. Laughs at her. They judge her and laugh at her even as they harbor secrets of their own. Maybe they’ve slept around, too, but no one has found out. Maybe they have their own problems, their own hidden vices. But they walk and talk like they’re so far above her.
Maybe she hates herself for what she’s done. Maybe she can’t forget it any more than your high school can. Maybe your high school won’t let her forget it.
Before you answer, read Mr. Hawthorne’s book.
But she’s not the girl that everyone thinks she is. She’s more than her reputation. More than the mistakes she’s made.
She’s the artist whose artwork everyone admires. She’s the girl who volunteers at the nursing home, befriending the sick and the lonely.
She’s the girl who would never think of herself as better than anyone, or superior to anyone. She’s too busy atoning for her own mistakes to worry about anyone else. She’s too busy being who she is to worry about anyone else’s opinion of her.
Hester Prynne is the girl you’re judging, when you could be learning something from her. You could be learning how to carry yourself with dignity, even when everyone judges you. You could be learning how to be yourself, even when everyone mocks you. You could be learning that being isolated and alone is a terrible burden…except when it allows you to be yourself.
We’ll put it another way: If Nathaniel Hawthorne has done his job, you’ll think twice before ever slapping a label on anyone, including yourself, again.