The Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter was written in 1850. This book was written by Nathanial Hawthorne. He wrote the book to apologize because he was embarrassed about his ancestors. This book is about a puritan woman who commits the sin of adultery. The puritans did not want the government controlling them so that’s why they came to America. Hawthorne wrote this book to show that guilt can destroy a person’s body and soul. In this book Hawthorne shows how the character Dimmesdale destroys himself his body and his soul alike. Dimmesdale’s self-hatred and inability to confess drive him to the practice of flogging himself, fasting and keeping vigils, all of which weaken his body. Describing the self-abuse, Hawthorne writes, “In Mr. Dimmesdale’s secret closet, under lock and key, there was a bloody scourge. Oftentimes this protestant and Puritan divine had plied it on his own shoulders… but could not purify himself” (90-100). The deterioration of the minister’s health certainly must be due, at least in part, to open sores caused by self-flagellation, to starvation, and to sleep deprivation. Dimmesdale does not confess because he still wants to be a minister. “Or,-can we not suppose it?-guilty as they may be, retaining, nevertheless, a zeal for God’s glory and man’s welfare, they shrink from displaying themselves black and filthy in the view of men; because, thenceforward, no good can be achieved by them; no evil of the past be redeemed by better service.” (91). This proves that Dimmesdale still wants to be a minister. Dimmesdale hates that he can’t confess it pains him. “They mostly do, “They mostly do,” “said the clergyman, gripping hard at his breast, as it afflicted with an important throb of pain.” (163). This shows that the pain of guilt hurts Dimmesdale a lot. This isn’t all physical pain as Dimmesdale himself states. It isn’t physical because it is a spiritual thing. This shows that it is not physical destruction to his body but a...
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