Guilt as Reparation for Sin in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

5500 Words 22 Pages
Guilt as Reparation for Sin in The Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter is a novel about a Puritan woman who has committed adultery and must pay for her sin by wearing a scarlet “A'; on her bosom. The woman, Hester Prynne, must struggle through everyday life with the guilt of her sin. The novel is also about the suffering that is endured by not admitting to one’s wrongs. Reverend Mister Dimmesdale learns that secrecy only makes the guilt increase. Nathaniel Hawthorne is trying to display how guilt is the everlasting payment for sinful actions. The theme of guilt as reparation for sin in The Scarlet Letter is revealed through Nathaniel Hawthorne’s use of northeastern, colonial settings, various conflicts, and
…show more content…
Nathaniel Hawthorne (originally spelled “Hathorne';) was born to Elizabeth Clarke Manning Hathorne and Nathaniel Hathorne in Salem, Massachusetts on July 4, 1804. He was the second child and the only son of the Hathornes’ three children. When Nathaniel was four, his father came down with yellow fever and died in Surinam, Dutch Guiana. After his father’s death, Mrs. Hathorne moved her family into her parents’ house in Salem (Shepherd iv). At the age of nine, Nathaniel Hathorne suffered an injury to his legs that kept him from attending school for about two years. This injury was a blessing in disguise. During his recovery, Nathaniel read many books and developed an appreciation for the English classics. Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress and Spenser’s Faerie Queene seem to have been his favorite books because he had two cats named Beelzebub and Apollyon, characters from Bunyan (Martin 17). “Hawthorne later named his first child Una, after Spenser’s heroine'; (Martin 17).
     Hawthorne would spend the rest of his childhood in Raymond, Maine, hunting, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors. He returned to Salem for schooling and worked as a bookkeeper for his Uncle’s stagecoach line (Martin 17). He entered Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine in
Open Document