Social Acceptance And Redemption In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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In their lifetime, everyone has done something wrong and felt guilt, however, what allows people to get over it often depends on to what extent they want to confess their wrongdoing as opposed to hiding behind or from it. In the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the values of the character Dimmesdale change over the course of the book as a result of the events he goes through. He overvalues social acceptance which causes him distress and imposes heavy guilt on his conscience but finally realizes that the only way to rid himself of that guilt and sin is to confess. Dimmesdale’s values of social acceptance and honesty change as he realizes that it is more important to honor honesty over social acceptance, demonstrating that redemption is only possible through public honesty.
Arthur Dimmesdale, a Puritan Minister, devoted to god, religion, and loved by all commits a sin and as a result, suffers from keeping it hidden because of his fear of being judged and looked down upon. Initially, he has no plan of admitting his sin, saying that “‘[Hester, Pearl and him] must stand together. But the daylight of this world shall not see [their] meeting’” (219). He is saying that one day, he and his family shall stand together at the scaffolding, but there must not and will not be anyone to see or witness it. By saying this, Dimmesdale proves how greatly he cares about his appearance to the public, emphasizing how nobody will “see” his sin. Because he is so adamant about

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