". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Speaking of The Scarlet Letter

As my children and I have been reading this novel together, I wonder how I ever managed to teach it in a public school setting. It's all about sin and guilt and repentance and redemption. It is clear to my children that what Hester needs is the Gospel. We weep for her because she is so obviously repentant, and yet no one has told her that she is forgiven. She is weighed down by guilt, shunned by her neighbors who are every bit as sinful as she. She is being punished in a left-hand kingdom manner for a right-hand kingdom act. And yet when I taught this novel in the past, I could not have addressed any of these points with my students. How in the world did I do it? I have no clue.


Lotzastitches said...

Interesting points!
I haven't read it since high school...a long, long time ago. I'm thinking that most of the books I've read in high school lit classes would come across quite differently if I would reread them now.

Ariel said...

What a secular educator would tell you is that the book deals with the problem of sinning and social ostracization in the theocratic society of the Puritans, and deals with themes of living in an overly Christian and judgmental society.

What an informed Christian would tell you is that the book deals with how fallible humans in a human society relate to sin in the left-handed civil kingdom, and how the kind of judging that Hester received in the book is mostly a product of what happens when fallible humans attempt to reconcile divine judgment with human society and rationale.