Secret Sin- An essay about the appearnce vs reality of sin done in the book.

Essay by natemil87A, May 2004

download word file, 4 pages 4.0

Nathan Miller


Secret Sin

Any sane mind searches for internal justification for its blunders. Even the smallest sin can feel like a tremendous burden. One of the failures of the Puritan society was that their rigid and strict lifestyles forced their citizens to expurgate their real feelings and emotions. In contrast, citizens in a less repressed society expose their inner devils, and as a result, can move on with their lives. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter The character Dimmesdale is an example of a person who conceals his sin. Every day his spirit comes closer to a rotten corpse. Hester, because she openly displays her sin, is made spiritually stronger. Hawthorne's theme of secret sin rationalizes why trespasses kept secret weakens the perpetrator, while publicly confessed strengthen him. Hester, who publicly admits her sin, is made stronger and wiser because she does not have to live under false pretense, and she is allowed to explore the true meaning of life unrestricted by social law.

In total contrast to Hester, Dimmesdale is plagued with regret for his sin because he chooses to disguise his real soul.

Sins are done perpetually, but because the sinner confesses her sin, she is able to live her life in truth. Hester, Dimmesdale's fellow perpetrator, is forced to show her transgressions. Ironically, her soul is made purer instead of plagued because her sin is known by her peers. The citizens of the town protect her moral sanity because they relieved her subconscious mind by forcing her to tell her sin. It is a relief to her that she doesn't have to hold such a monstrous misdeed in hiding. In the woods, Dimmesdale becomes aware of her spiritual strength and begs "be strong for me." Her strength of character allows Dimmesdale a shoulder to lean...