Sins inThe Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

Sins inThe Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

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“Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred” (Hawthorne). As this sentence is read in the The Scarlet Letter, the reader will realize that the main theme of the book is the sentence above. Throughout the book, secret sin damages the lives, soul, and the integrity of the main characters. However, it could have easily been evaded through open confession of their sins. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s purpose in writing this novel is an attempt to influence the reader to openly confess their sins and never be ashamed of who they are. According to Levine, “even though we convey ourselves as saints, we are really sinners (Levine 64). The Scarlet Letter is a classic work of Hawthorne due to the themes it portrays and the relevancy to today’s society. By definition, “A classic is a work of art so universal that it has transcended the boundaries of time and place; it has survived the ‘test of time’” (Lazarus). In the highly symbolic novel, “The Scarlet Letter”, Nathaniel Hawthorne explores the effects of hidden sin and his characters’ ultimate release from guilt when they learn to own their sin.
It all started when Nathanial Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804. One of his ancestors was a judge in the Salem witchcraft trials, so he added the letter “w” to his last name to make any relations ambiguous. “When he was a child, he took great interest in classical literatures of Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, John Buyon, Sir Walter Scott, and endless gothic romances”(Bloom 11). “He attended Bowdoin College in Maine where he joined the Athenean Literature Society and wrote many short stories” (Bloom 11). The time spent studying at Bowdoin College, greatly influenced his future caree...


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...rcome the test of time and forever known as a classic in literary history.



Works Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York, New York: Signet Classic, 1999.
Baym, Nina. The Scarlet Letter: A Reading. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1986. Print.
Bloom, Harold. Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Broomall, PA: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004. Print.
James, Henry. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Ed. Harold Bloom: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004. Print. ]
Lazarus, Arnold, ed. A Glossary of Literature and Composition. Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English, 1984. Print.
"The Scarlet Letter." Novels for Students. Ed. Diane Telgen. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1997. 306-328. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.
Levin, Harry. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Ed. Harold Bloom: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004. Print.

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