Literature Has Functioned Throughout History As A Means

1266 WordsJan 23, 20176 Pages
Literature has functioned throughout history as a means of social criticism that is accessible to the lay public. Classics like Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe leverage their plots to reveal alarming realities and comment on social issues. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of the earliest examples of literary social criticism. Hawthorne uses the plight of the main character, Hester Prynne, a convicted adulterer in a society that severely punishes sinners, to take a stand against Puritanism and the religious conservatism that stains the memory of his ancestors. In a similar fashion, the film Easy A, directed by Will Gluck, confronts puritanical aspects of modern popular culture.…show more content…
In a similar yet less overt approach, Easy A portrays religious hypocrisy through the use of dialogue juxtaposed with music. As a result of her notoriety for allegedly losing her virginity, Olive Penderghast incurs the wrath of the school’s conservative religious group led by fellow student Marianne Bryant. In a scene at a club meeting, Marianne complains about how “Jesus tells us to love everyone. Even the whores and the homosexuals, but it’s so hard” (Royal 65). As she is making her intolerant comments, the song Oh! Let My People Go: The Song of the Contrabands, is played in the background. The juxtaposition of a song that was historically sung by slaves as a sign of freedom is in contradiction with Marianne’s rhetoric. Subtle undertones are used in the movie to negatively portray religion as fanatical and suppressive. Just as it can be inferred that Hawthorne disliked the Calvinist fundamentalist version of Christianity the Puritans practiced, it can also be inferred that the directors from liberal Hollywood dislike forms of religious extremism. This is certainly the case in later scenes in the movie when protestors from Marianne’s club hackle Olive with signs saying “OLIVE PENDERGHAST IS A WHORE” (Royal 72). Easy A includes many overt references to The Scarlet Letter, for instance Olive embraces her role as the school skank and begins wearing provocative lingerie with a
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