Hawthorne: The Unpardonable Sin Nathaniel Hawthorne Wrote Term Paper

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Hawthorne: The Unpardonable Sin

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote fiction, and the theme of much of it had to do with unpardonable sin. According to Hawthorne, this 'unpardonable' sin was the violation of the sanctity of the human heart, and this has often been compared with Shelley's Frankenstein. There are many forms that this unpardonable sin can take, but regardless of the form the sin takes it becomes the main concern of the sinner and therefore the catalyst in his or her life for both suffering and ultimately destruction.

In "The Birthmark," Hawthorne begins to talk about the unpardonable sin, but he really does not develop the concept to the extent that it could be developed in that particular work. Instead, the evolution of the unpardonable sin takes place through several of his books. While it begins in "The Birthmark," real development of it is seen in "Ethan Brand" where it achieves more definition. At that point the reader is much more aware of what Hawthorne is actually talking about and this helps to show the importance and the seriousness of the issue of the unpardonable sin. Full realization of the unpardonable sin, however, comes in another Hawthorne work, "The Scarlet Letter."

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In various stories, Hawthorne also talks about death because he wants to show that sins and sinners can have an effect after they are gone as well, and that the sanctity of the human heart, once breached, is difficult to repair. He shows that death is not the ultimate end of everything, however (Johns, 2001). While it might be the end of one particular person, at least for purposes of this world, it is not the end of who they were and what they did with their life. Sometimes people continued to be affected by the ripples that a life made in the waters of the people who surrounded them.

Term Paper on Hawthorne: The Unpardonable Sin Nathaniel Hawthorne Wrote Assignment

This theme comes through in "The Scarlet Letter" where Hawthorne once again shows the effect that continues in the lives of others even after the death of one person. This seems to be a common and important theme in his writings. Hawthorne makes readers understand that death is final, but yet it is not. While the person is gone, part of them lives in the lives and beliefs of others. A good man will be talked about fondly long after he has left the earth. A cruel man will still be hated and abhorred, regardless of how long he has been gone. People's memories are what keep the dead alive in the hearts and minds of the living, and they can be very powerful.

So powerful, sometimes, that they cause problems and pain for people long after the original person that caused the problem is gone. This is what Hawthorne meant when he talked about the unpardonable sin and the violation of the sanctity of the human spirit. Many people think that, if someone causes them pain, the pain will go away when the person does. However, that is often not the case with emotional or mental pain, and at times the death of the person that caused the pain can only make the pain worse. This is due to the fact that, once that person is gone, there is no way to reconcile with the person, no way to really talk to him or her and get answers, and no way to address the issues that are bothersome.

Hawthorne's Puritan roots and the evolution of the unpardonable sin show in another way that really comes through in "The Scarlet Letter." This is seen in the concept of sympathy and how it changes through the novel (McCullen & Guilds, 1960). When Hester is first ordered to wear the scarlet letter 'A' on her chest, to show she committed adultery, no one… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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