Puritans Footsteps

Submitted By AudreyWenzl4223
Words: 616
Pages: 3

Audrey Wenzl
Mrs. Scheffler

Following in the Puritans Footsteps Throughout history there has always been a magnitude of punishments ranging from simple to gruesome. Today it is thought the punishments used are much more civilized. If Americans scroll back roughly three-hundred years to a Puritan society the punishments may seem different, but look even closer and many have the same objective. Mitchel said that one large reason behind Puritan punishment was “to have a church member repent and return to the compression.”(59) Although the popularity of the Puritan religion has faded away to nothing has society really strayed away from their morals? Humiliation was a large punishment in the Puritan community which is evident in Hawthorne’s book The Scarlet Letter. In Hawthorne’s book the main character Hester Prynne was forced to be shunned on a scaffold in the middle of town (Hawthorne). Puritans while on the scaffold had to confess their sin and take responsibility for their wrongdoing (Mitchel 60). The Puritan goal to embarrass the convicted shines into modern day punishment. It is not uncommon for judges to make multi-billion dollar companies publicly apologize in newspapers (Logeland). This adds more exposure to the companies mistake and make the specific company more open to criticism. With all these contributing factors its easy to draw a clear line connecting the two forms of embarrassing punishments. In the Puritan community it was normal for someone to be branded or forced to wear a letter for a crime such as theft(Mitchel 60). This is a very clear point made The Scarlet Letter when Hester Prynne was forced the wear a letter A that stood for adultery. Hester wearing the scarlet letter A resulted in her being an outcast in her community and not gaining respect (Hawthorne). A modern tie to branding is criminals reputation being ruined. An obvious struggling criminal would be a registered sex offender. The metaphorical branding on ones record would make it challenging to obtain a job or even fit in. With the example of sex offenders, he or she must get permission major aspects of their life such as living arrangements, their occupation, and even their personal relationships (“Ruels For…”). They are treated as outcast just as the branded Puritans 300 years ago. Once again although the methods of punishment are different the outcome is still the same. Banishment was a serious punishment in Puritan time and was only used for the most serious