Easy A

October 3, 2010
A modern day take off on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic “The Scarlet Letter,” ‘Easy A’ is overflowing with references to the novel. The movie’s protagonist is Olive Prendergast, an average high schooler with no reputation, let alone an unsavory one. This reflects the previous life of Hester Prynne who before the affair with Dimmesdale had been a non-characteristic, average part of her puritanical society. But while Hester’s affair is completely true, with her daughter Pearl to prove it- Olive’s infidelity is purely imaginary. One large difference between Olive and Hester is that Hester is forced to wear a red ‘A’ while Olive voluntarily brands her clothing with the insignia. Both characters suffer from ostracism and general disgust by the community, though Olive flaunts her title as a slut while Hester bears her name in silence.
One part of this movie I particularly liked was Olive’s realization she has taken her act too far when after a short and awkward date one of her ‘customers’ actually tries to have sex with her- this is a wake- up call for Olive who after this experience tries to come clean and clear her name. Sadly there is no part in Hawthorne’s novel that parallels this because Hester’s crime is real while Olive’s is completely fictitious. The infidelity of Olive’s guidance counselor who is married to her English teacher (ironically teaching “The Scarlet Letter” at this time) also represents the affair Hester carries while she is sill wed to Chillingworth, though to be fair Hester’s husband was regarded as to have been lost at sea while Olive’s counselor was only suffering from a husband with a low sex drive. Another similarity was that the ‘A’ of Hester’s breast eventually came to represent ‘able,’ and Olive mentioned at one point in the movie that her ‘A’ represented ‘amazing.’ The last funny coincidence of this film was that my English class just finished “The Scarlet Letter” and our next book is “Huckleberry Fin,” which is also being read in Olive’s English class.

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