The assignment was simple; make a letter to resemble that of Hester's in "The Scarlet Letter" and wear it around school for a week. However, this assignment had the potential to be interesting and awkward.
I chose the letter E for my "Scarlet Letter" as it represented my lack of effort. Throughout High School, the effort I have put forth into school has been less than stellar, and while my grades have been pretty good for the most part, if I put just a little bit of effort into my work in school, I could have excellent grades. The letter helped especially as I wore it during school because it reminded me of why I was wearing it and every time I looked down and saw my letter E, I was reminded to give 100% instead of 90 or 80%.
While my experiences differ greatly from those of Hester Prynne's in "The Scarlet Letter", there is one passage that closely resembles the reasoning and similarities of which I created my letter and what it symbolized and also how it changed me over the course of a week.
This passage is at the beginning of chapter 18 when the author is reflecting on the events of the book, much in the same way as I am reflecting on my letter over the past week. He says, "But Hester Prynne, with a mind of native courage and activity, and for so long a period not merely estranged, but outlawed, from society, had habituated herself to such latitude of speculation as was altogether foreign to the clergyman. She had wandered, without rule or guidance, in a moral wilderness. . . . The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers,--stern and wild ones,--and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.(Hawthorne, 134)" There are a few key statements in here that I would like to point out, most notably the ones closest to my experiences, "She had wandered, without rule or guidance, in a moral wilderness." This describes how Scarlet had simply given up on society on the whole and was just wandering, doing her own thing. In my real world experience, this represents how in school, I was simply wandering, doing my own thing, not really caring about my grades when I should have.
In the end, while my experiences were far different from those of Hester's, I was still able to make a connection, which I believe has a lot to say about Hawthorne's ability to reach a large crowd and cover a broad series of topics while focusing on a narrow subject.