Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Inspiring Reflection

This is a paper revolving around my most recent epiphany referred to in "Reflections". Yes, it's been pointed out that my conclusion makes a  bit of a leap but I'm sure that's due to me trying to justify my actions to myself as a source of comfort.

Every morning, after we wake up, we eventually wind up in the restroom and, while there, we look in the mirror. Most often we just glance at our reflections, but sometimes we stare. Today, I stared, long and hard. I was searching for any imperfection, any marring to give away my misdeeds from the day before- and I realized, there were none. In fact, I looked refreshed and its cause made me blush- the same shade as the other night.  Then all at once, I felt my life halt as I realized my world didn’t work the way books portrayed. What I mean is, you may sin but your reflection doesn’t alter and no one is there to force you to wear scarlet A’s.  Life is just different than I expected based off publishings from one hundred years ago. Society doesn’t seem to feel the need to punish me, a man no longer has the right to blackmail me, and it seems as karma no longer desires to harm me.
Adultery, by modern definition, means the sexual relationship between a married man and someone other than his spouse, or the sexual relationship between a married woman and someone other than her spouse.  However, originally adultery was only defined by the unfaithfulness of a married woman. The Scarlett Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850, is a book that embodies this better than any other published work before its time. The novel revolves around Hester, her infidelity, and how she handled society’s presumption of her. While being married, Hester’s husband sends her to live in Boston, Massachusetts before himself. After an extended amount of time it’s assumed that Hester’s husband died on his voyage to rejoin her at the colonies and this motivates her affair with the town’s minister. It is because of her obvious pregnancy that the townspeople can deduce that she was unfaithful to her marriage.  In the town’s efforts to reprimand her they demand she wear a scarlet A as an act of social humiliation.
Nathaniel Hawthorne is not the only author to include the idea of social humiliation concurrent with infidelity. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham revolves around the same idea with the relationship of Kitty and Walter. Kitty is a young girl and a member of upper society while Walter is a more mature and serious man of bourgeois. After the pair is married, Walter has Kitty accompany him to China where he pursues his medical career. However, none of this is Kitty’s dream and she becomes bored with her situation and seeks companionship elsewhere, leading to her affair with a married man. Her husband finds out and blackmails her with exposure of her actions (which would lead to public humiliation) or to escort him to an unbearable village where cholera is rampant. Her yearning to avoid society’s rejection resigns her to travel under severe conditions with her husband.
Through the decades, hellacious adultery consequences seem to have become obsolete with morals suffering from acute degradation, as suggested by F. Scott Fitzgerald in his portrayal of 1920’s ethics, The Great Gatsby. The sin of being unfaithful is a reoccurring theme in this piece, ranging from Daisy’s husbands and his mistress, to Gatsby and his blatant attempts to seduce Daisy. However, this self-absorbed decade seemed to treat infidelity with a nonchalance the prior ones lacked, as long as such deeds weren’t too absurd. However, in this case it seems as though karma was substitution for any negative connotation the public could’ve cast upon the adulterers.
Our social standards really have changed; this I realized after a more critical evaluation of my reflection. Our generation doesn’t seem to have a consequence for my choice, and, contrary to my prior beliefs, physical evidence of my experience is lacking (aside from my current confiding). Although, I cannot help but contemplate whether I am solely responsible for my action after confessing to my partner that I was no longer in love with him. I forfeited eight months of my life to celibacy, how much longer should I wait until the other party agrees that our relationship over? How much were these women supposed to endure? My lack of remorse is disheartening and enlightening; it is also a constant reminder to myself that the life I have not yet experienced will not be how I previously perceived based off other peoples publishings.

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