Visions Of Utopia: “The Scarlet Letter” vs. Pleasantville
In both “The Scarlet Letter” and “Pleasantville,” there is an image of utopia, a perfect world that has been created and everyone that lives inside of it is happy with their lives and couldn’t wish for anything better. Also in both utopias there is something or someone that challenges the “perfect” world because they do not believe it is perfect and thinks that it needs to be changed. In both stories those that cannot accept the change immediately try to attack it and stop it in any way possible. An outsider or a new member of the community brings passion and new ideas to the society and disrupts their view and existence of a perfect life. Passion brings on sin, which then brings on change and there are a lot of people that can’t handle that change so they try to fight to preserve their way of life, the safe life, the “perfect” life.
In “The Scarlet Letter,” Hester is the one who challenges the Utopia of the puritans. The puritans live in a world that is absent of color and everyone is hard working and is very loyal to god. Hester chose to challenge the utopia of her time by first committing adultery which challenged the idea of that adultery was a sin and that was breaking god’s laws. Hester also challenged this so-called “perfect” world by making the “A” on her chest very extravagant and colorful. It was as if she almost wanted people to notice the “A” and pay attention to it. The puritans that saw the “A” were fortified to see that she was showing off something that was supposed to be a punishment for the great sin that she had committed. The whole town is so upset over what has happened that they slowly start to change and eventually something that was the talk of the town when it happened slowly faded away to nothing to the village people. Even though the utopia in the puritan town was disturbed they were able to move around it and forget and move on with their lives like as if it never happened.
In ” Pleasantville,” Jen (Mary Sue) is the character that challenges the vision of utopia that the citizens of the town have. Pleasantville’s utopia had some similarities to those in “The scarlet Letter.” The town was literally perfect, the weather was always the same everyone worked, the mothers cleaned the house and made dinner, just like you would see in a movie. The problem with this perfect world was that it was the same all the time, some things changed in everyday activity but basically it was all the same. Everyone went home the same time every day, they did the exact same thing day after day. Due to the fact that things never changed much the citizens of this town were happy with this and felt very safe and didn’t want things to change, who wouldn’t want to live in a perfect world. Jen did not want to conform to the rules of the show or what they did, she wanted to enjoy herself and let the people have a little fun, they were capable of it, they just didn’t know any better. The reason that people began to change was that they believed in things outside of Pleasantville and wanted to experience new and exciting things. The people that were very happy with the utopia and didn’t want anything to change automatically attacked those that were different and tried to make they abandon their beliefs. Their plan did not work and the “colored” people did not give up, they were determined to keep their newfound freedom and stay the way they were. Eventually everyone in the town changed and there was now something outside of Pleasantville. Almost everyone was happy with the change because it gave them freedom, if you do the same things day after day it gets tiring inside, you may not show wit but you get bored it’s also as if you are enslaved, but now they were free.
In conclusion I believe that there was something in both stories that challenged the Utopia and they do did change it somehow. In “Pleasantville” I think that Jen and David and a more drastic effect on the citizens then Hester had on her community but neither act stood unnoticed. I think that in both cases the change in the people’s “perfect” world was for the better, and even though there were those that apposed the eventually grew onto it and accepted the change.