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Sin, Guilt, and Regeneration in The Scarlet Letter

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Abstract:

The Scarlet Letter (1850), the romantic fiction, is written by renowned American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne. The present article analyzes sin, guilt and regeneration in The Scarlet Letter. Different types of sin are represented in The Scarlet Letter. There are sins of the flesh, sins of weakness, sins of will and the intellect. Hester stands on the scaffold wearing a dull gray dress with a large scarlet "A" on her bosom. She shows to the world the result of her sin in the form of little Pearl. While Hester's sin is noticeable to all, Dimmesdale's sin is hidden. The minister hides his wrong, the fact that he has broken the moral law. Rodger Chillingworth, Hester's husband, an older man is guilty of two sins. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne is not overly concerned with the sin that has been committed; he is more concerned with the results of the sin. Hawthorne points out that while sin which is exposed and confessed, frees the sinner's mind and often brings about a transformation in the life, sin which is concealed and cherished tends to cause ruin and death. While Hawthorne's characters are sinners, many of them are presented as people who actually gain salvation and regeneration before the story ends.

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