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The Black Veil : The Presence Of Sin Essay

Decent Essays
The Black Veil: The Presence of Sin in Hawthorne’s Short Stories
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Dark Romantic views shine through his writing, showing that human nature is weak and selfish. Although his plots revolve around misguided people and the guilt of their lives, the guilt stems from their sins that are arguably unpardonable since they affect the sinners’ lives until they die. Hawthorne especially uses the theme of an unpardonable sin in “Young Goodman Brown,” “Roger Malvin’s Burial,” and “The Celestial Railroad.”
First, Reuben in “Roger Malvin’s Burial” committed multiple sins that are arguably unpardonable. The narrator began the tale by describing how in battle heroism can be displayed “by casting certain circumstances judiciously into the shade,” exactly what Reuben tried and failed to do (88). He believed if he never admitted the truth of his actions, he would not have to face them and could move forward in his life. Consequently, he only cast his actions deep within himself, allowing his guilt to manifest and control his life. The first obvious sin is deceit. Reuben lied to Dorcas about burying her father. However, he lied to Roger, too. Reuben “vowed, by the blood that stained [the handkerchief], that he would return, either to save his companion’s life, or to lay his body in the grave,” but he was insincere (93). He “felt the full importance of the promise, which he most solemnly made, to return, and perform Roger Malvin’s obsequies,” and “a sort of guilty feeling,
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