The Scarlet Letter

Sin: Hawthorne's Biblical Truth

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne writes the consequences of one sinful act in a Puritan community. This sinful act involves three main characters, Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingsworth. As The Scarlet Letter progresses, each character copes with his or her sin differently, and therefore the sin affects them differently. Shirley Guthrie writes, "There are three types of sin, 1) repentive sin, 2) unrepentive or hidden sin, and 3) deadly sin (7 types: lust, sloth, wrath, envy, gluttony, greed, and pride). All three can be forgiven by God's grace, but only through the asking in Jesus' Name"(pp. 105). Hawthorne allows The Scarlet Letter to be a backdrop, illuminating the truth of each character. This truth being that each character is a symbolic representation of one type of sin. Hester becomes repentive sin, Dimmesdale is unrepentive, and Chillingsworth is deadly sin. As each character develops, so matures the sin, which they represent.

Hester's adulterous affair, which is quickly discovered through her pregnancy, culminates in her wearing the symbolic representation of her sin, the scarlet A. Hester learns to find forgiveness of her sin though the trials of wearing the A. Hester...

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