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A for Adultery

In 1850, Nathanial Hawthorne’s “Scarlet Letter” was first published; it is now considered to be his most famous work.  A dissertation on sin and guilt paralleling the Christian myth of Adam and Eve, the novel draws upon such themes that dominated the 1950’s social landscape and maintains significant relevance even today. In brief synopsis, a young woman in 1700 Boston commits the sin of adultery, bearing a child out marriage.  The story chronicles the trials and tribulations of the young woman and her purported lover; following the public scorn, shame and attempts at redemption.  The first images of the book describe an early morning release of a female prisoner and her infant daughter.  The young woman bears a scrap of red fabric in the shape of the letter “A”: Adulterer.

It would be supremely naïve to believe that women and men were destined to remain monogamous and become sexually active only within the confines of blessed-from-above marriage; yet heterosexual relationships are indeed the norm.  Polygamy, sodomy, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, bisexuality and any other form of sexual/intimate relationship between two human beings have all been considered a sin at one point of another since the introduction and prevalence of puritanical patriarchy , now called Christian ‘values’ , which dominate modern American culture.  In typical duplicitous fashion, American rulers, male politicians, are among the foremost purveyors of these “Christian Values”, while consistently the most egregious rule breakers amongst us. Case in point: Eliot Spitzer, former Governor of New York.

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