The Effects Of Guilt And Sin In Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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In today’s society, guilt and sin are usually associated with negative connotations. People are under the impression that positive effects can’t result from bad situations. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter takes place in the 1700’s in Boston, Massachusetts. During this time, if someone was to commit a sin, the citizens of the Puritan community would completely shame and bash the person who was involved in the wrongdoing. Hester Prynne is one character who makes a mistake that leads her to experience the hate and embarrassment that comes with it. Along with the severe consequences, Hester is able to find the good that comes from her transgression. Arthur Dimmesdale deals with the guilt from his sin in a different way and ends up in a very different situation than Hester. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses Pearl, Hester 's daughter, to symbolize how the effects of guilt and sin have a dual nature.

Pearl demonstrates how the effects of sin have a positive outcome on Hester. Pearl came from such an immoral act that no one can see Hester for anything else besides a sinner. Hester is more than that though, she is a mother who is trying to support herself and her daughter. When the governor is trying to take Pearl away from her mother, Hester says this, “God gave her into my keeping, I will not give her up!” (Hawthorne 169).
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On the other hand, most people let the feeling eat you up inside until they find some way to get forgiveness. Hester Prynne changed her life course and ended up finding the good in her sin. Dimmesdale was the opposite, he let himself deteriorate mentally and physically. In both cases, Pearl was a leading factor in how the two characters found peace with themselves. Although, guilt and sin can be affiliated with negative ideas and feelings of shame, there are other cases where positive results come from unethical
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