Effects Of Sin And Guilt In The Scarlet Letter

Decent Essays
Brian Doan
Ms. Pierce
AP Eng Per 1
24 October 2017
The Scarlet Letter Research Essay
Dark Romanticists such as Nathaniel Hawthorne mainly focused on the imperfectness of humans and how they are surrounded by sin. One of Hawthorne’s purposes in The Scarlet Letter is the lasting effects of sin and guilt. Through his novel, he shows keeping your sin and guilt inside you will make it fester and change you for the worse. However, the novel also shows that facing your sin and guilt and revealing it will help you learn and become a better person.
If sin and guilt is stuck in your heart, you will get worse, and this buildup of sin and guilt can lead to death. In the novel, Dimmesdale and Chillingworth really transform psychologically. Taylor
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Dimmesdale hurts physically because of his repentance of his sins through his scourging, fasting, and vigils. Dimmesdale seems to try to get rid of his psychological problems physically, but this doesn’t work as he states “Of penance, I have had enough! Of penitence, there has been none” (Hawthorne 183). The psychological trauma in Dimmesdale’s mind makes him not respect himself and his health and body. Dimmesdale does physical torture not only to try to heal himself, but also to try to even out and feel the same pain as Hester when she was punished. Dimmesdale goes through what is survivor’s guilt, in which he regrets he didn’t join Hester when she was caught. All of his psychological pain and physical pain is not working because he does not feel better about himself. Dimmesdale could only free his buildup of guilt with death and since there is no more guilt Chillingworth can feed on, he also dies as his sole purpose in life was to torture Dimmesdale. These two deaths show what happens if you left sin and guilt take over yourself.
Sin and guilt can hurt you negatively, but letting it out will help you learn from your mistakes and improve your life. Hawthorne may have focused mainly on how sin poisons humanity, but he did not completely agree that people who sinned are bad. Courtmanche says Hawthorne explored “the perplexing destructiveness of pride, the assuagement of guilt, and the means of redemptive
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