Easy A

Adultery and promiscuity are often characteristics associated with unrespectable, low life, pieces of trash in society. However, people often use these terms to describe others when they might actually possess them themselves. This is seen in the movie Easy A, where high school life is very accurately portrayed, in its passing of rumors, teenage insecurity, as well as the striving to better oneself on the popularity scale. The protagonist, Olive Penderghast, doesn’t strike many as the popular type from the beginning of the movie, where she seems to almost crave attention in her social world, and little does she know that that very attention will be granted-although in a way she wouldn’t expect. It all started with a lie. The spark was when Olive decides to lie to her friend Rhiannon about having sexual relations with a fictitious college freshman. Next, Olive takes pity on a bullied student, Brandon. After, Brandon proposes to Olive to host a fake “sexual relation” at a house party. This particular decision sends Olive spiraling into a succession of lies which ultimately lead to her gaining a notoriously promiscuous reputation not only with her peers, but with her teachers as well. After helping out Brandon, Olive decides to help out other unpopular students by doing the same thing.
This movie not only parallels the novel, The Scarlet Letter, because the religious class is reading the novel during the duration of the movie, but also because Olive’s very character seems to be a replica of Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter. Olive seems to go on thinking independent of what society (her fellow students) think of her, and she almost enjoys the newfound attention she’s receiving from the school. As her notoriety grows, she seems to become a scapegoat for some problems that arise, and her friendship with Rhiannon is jeopardized. This resembles the Hester Prynne’s situation in the novel, where the reader finds Hester isolated and almost devout of friendly contact with others in society.

Olive also seems to embody the characters Hester Prynne as well as Arthur Dimmesdale for the duration of the movie. Dimmesdale feels constant guilt for the overwhelming sin that he committed with Hester, however in Olive’s case, she seems to almost welcome the guilt associated with her sin. But she does compare to Dimmesdale in that she carries the weight of her sin and eventually she comes out with the truth and admits it to everyone due to the overwhelming consequences they experience.

This movie helps to put on a new perspective on the previously classic story of The Scarlet Letter, where Nathaniel Hawthorne provides a description of the scenario in colonial America, and the movie provides a more modern delivery of the movie. Both the movie and the novel describe the effects of society’s opinions on adultery then and now, whereas now it seems to give a different response than Puritans did in Hawthorne’s novel. I believe that the movie and the novel share the same message, to avoid telling lies because they will always come back to do you harm, as noted in the old saying “what goes around, comes around.”





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