Exploring Metaphors in “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

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Exploring Metaphors in “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

This essay will analyze the use of metaphors in Jonathan Edwards’ sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” It will explore how Edwards employs vivid and dramatic metaphors to convey his message about sin, salvation, and divine wrath, and their impact on the audience. At PapersOwl too, you can discover numerous free essay illustrations related to Nathaniel Hawthorne.

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A Dive into the Art of Fear by Edwards and Hawthorne

The authors Jonathan Edwards and Nathaniel Hawthorne both use their writing to look into why people are afraid of something unpredictable. Edwards caused people to have a lot of fear because he was telling them that their actions would result in where they would spend their afterlife. Hawthorne, however, uses emblems and speaks about the emotions that the characters are going through. Edwards and Hawthorne both state their purposes through imagery, symbolism, and tone, but Edwards is more effective than Hawthorne.

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The Power of Imagery in Literature

The authors use the imagery in order for the readers to have a better understanding. “there is nothing between you and Hell but the Air; ‘tis only the Power and mere Pleasure of God that holds you up.” EdwardsThe Scarlet Letter says this to make you see that there is nothing helping you but God. Hawthorne uses imagery in The Scarlet Letter by showing us Hester Prynne wore her sins with pride.“ was that Scarlet Letter, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing her in a sphere by herself.” Both authors capitalize unnecessary words to let the readers know that it is important.

Symbols and Metaphors: Unveiling the Underlying Meanings

The authors use symbolism to show a different point of view with different objects. “The Bow of God’s Wrath is bent, and the Arrow made ready on the String, and Justice bends the Arrow at your Heart, and strains the Bow.” Edwards is saying if God was really mad at people, he could kill them, but he does not. He makes the people feel appreciative of the use of his symbolism. Hawthorne uses symbolism to make others have sympathy for Hooper. “‘Do not desert me, though this veil must be between us here on earth. Be mine, and hereafter there shall be no veil over my face, no darkness between our souls!…..O! You know not how lonely I am and how frightened to be alone behind my black veil. Do not leave me in this miserable obscurity forever!” Hawthorne uses it by showing how Hooper feels like he has to deal with his sin alone because no one understands or knows what he is going through.

“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”: Edwards’s Confrontational Tone

Edwards uses a very serious tone to get his point across.“If God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless Gulf, and your healthy Constitution, and your own Care and Prudence, and best Contrivance, and all your Righteousness, would have no more Influence to uphold you and keep you out of Hell than a Spider’s Web would have to stop a falling Rock”. This excerpt from “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” states that people are very ungrateful and do not realize how much God is helping them. In “The Minister’s Black Veil,” Hawthorne uses a tone that is strict about letting his wife, Elizabeth, know that he is serious. “‘No mortal eye will see it withdrawn. This dismal shade must separate me from the world: even you, Elizabeth, can never come behind it!’” Parson Hooper’s black veil represents a barricade between him and the world. Edwards’s tone is more effective because he gets people scared that they are going to go to Hell if they do not stop sinning, and he constantly repeats it throughout the story.


In conclusion, Edwards’s style of writing is more effective than Hawthorne’s because he goes more in-depth than Hawthorne. He speaks directly to the people and uses more metaphors. He uses pathos to catch people’s attention and make them change their ways. Hawthorne, however, only speaks about his reasoning toward the characters in his stories. He does not speak directly to the people and makes them think about the things that they have done in the past.


  1. Edwards, Jonathan. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” 1741.
  2. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Scarlet Letter.” Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, 1850.
  3. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Minister’s Black Veil.” 1836.
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Exploring Metaphors in "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God". (2023, Aug 10). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/exploring-metaphors-in-sinners-in-the-hands-of-an-angry-god/