Persuasive Essay About Public Shame

Decent Essays

“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change”(Brené Brown). In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a woman is publicly shamed for having a child with a man who is not her husband. Another example of public shame can be seen in modern day articles “Florida ‘Scarlet Letter’ Law is Repealed by Gov. Bush,” by Dana Canedy, and “Houston Couple Gets ‘The Scarlet Letter’ Treatment.” Both talk of public shame that people have had to endure in the present day. Public shaming is not an effective punishment because it is a cruel and unusual punishment, it does not deter crime, and it can emotionally traumatize the one being shamed.
One of the main reasons why public shame is not an effective punishment is because it is a cruel and unusual punishment. The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that "cruel and unusual punishments [shall not be] inflicted.” The verdict of public shame is not morally just and should not be accepted in society. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne undergoes public torment for having a baby with a man other than her husband. She feels the shame of the punishment most when forced to walk through the square, under the scrutiny and torment of the town: “In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another, she took the baby on her arm, and, with a burning blush, and yet a haughty smile, and a glance that would not be abashed, looked around at her

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