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This essay will analyze the theme of exposed sin in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter.” It will discuss how the novel explores the consequences of sin, guilt, and the societal need to expose and punish wrongdoing. The piece will examine the experiences of Hester Prynne and other key characters, and how their revealed sins affect their lives and the Puritan community. It will also consider Hawthorne’s critique of the hypocrisy in moral judgment and redemption. PapersOwl offers a variety of free essay examples on the topic of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Discuss Nathaniel Hawthorne’s portrayal of the theme of exposed sin versus hidden sin in the novel as seen through the development of the main characters over the course of the story. For this essay, challenge yourself to develop a more sophisticated thesis statement that is a complex or a compound-complex sentence rather than the three-pronged format. Additionally, each body paragraph needs to contain three quotes. Be sure that the quotes DO NOT COME FROM THE SAME CHAPTER.
I. Introduction – Throughout all of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Sin is a prominent factor in every life, not just the main characters such as Hester and Roger Chillingworth. Exposed sin is compared to hidden sin, and the differences between the two show how the outcome of the result of spreading or hiding sin. Hook – Most would agree that being able to have a weight lifted off their shoulders from telling the truth would be encouraging. Others on the other hand may hid their secret out of fear or rejection and end up never have to admit their mistake to anyone, even ones who trusted them. Transition (may be phrase or entire sentence) from hook to summary of novel – The main characters in The Scarlet Letter struggle with exposed versus hidden sin and which has the best outcome. The characters the let out their sin and live with the truth out even if it changes how others look at them while on the contrary characters who hid their sin tend to suffer more internally than if they had just exposed their sin. BRIEF Summary should include title and author – The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne shines light on a woman named Hester who has committed adultery and has not given birth to a child.
How it works
Refusing to name the father, she lives her life alone as a sinner and is forced to wear the letter “A”. Hester’s husband comes to the town she is living in and makes it his life purpose to track the man who committed the sinful act with his wife. Transition (may be phrase or entire sentence) from summary to thesis – Although there are positives and negatives on whether to reveal sin, revealing sin is the only way to live a truthful life and show who you really are to the world. Thesis Statement – (compound) Complex sentence structure – Through The Scarlet Letter, the main characters are faced with exposed and hidden sin, and even though those who do not reveal their sin will be the only one who know the truth, they will live through life unhappy and unfulfilled while those who reveal their sin gain more purpose and happiness since they do not have to carry a large burden of guilt.
II. Body Paragraph # 1:
CHILLINGWORTH Topic Sentence – how does this sentence connect to your thesis statement? Chillingworth rotted his life away by making his goal in life to torture someone else and lived in iniquity, which in turn made his life sad and unmeaningful.
A. Quote #1 – “[Roger] hall seek [Dimmesdale], as [Roger] a sympathy that will make [Dimmesdale] conscious of him. [He] shall see him tremble. [He] shall feel [himself] shudder, suddenly and unawares. Sooner or later, [Dimmesdale] must needs be [Roger’s]!” (Hawthorn 64). a. how does the quote support your topic sentence? – shows how Roger’s only purpose now is to torture Dimmesdale and to emotionally destroy him, which is causing more sin.
B. Quote # 2 – “In a word, old Roger Chillingworth was striking evidence of man’s faculty of transforming himself into a devil. If he will only, for a reasonable space of time, undertake a devil’s office” (Hawthorne 140).
b. how does the quote support your topic sentence? – Shows how Roger is continuing to feed into his evil desires to torture another human being, and how he is focused on nothing else, starts to look as evil and he is being.
C. Quote # 3 – “‘Nothing was more remarkable than the change which took place, almost immediately after Mr. Dimmesdale’s death, in the appearance and demeanour of the old man known as Roger Chillingworth. All his strength and energy-all his vital and intellectual force-seemed at once to desert him; insomuch that he positively withered up, shrivelled away, and almost vanished from mortal sight….” (Hawthorn 212).
c. How does the quote support your topic sentence? – shows how because Roger lived such a sinful, secretive, and manipulative evil life, he ended up being weak and living an unfulfilling and unmeaningful life.
D. Concluding sentence – Roger Chillingworth ended up physically and psychologically weak from his time of torment, and ended up suffering from the life he lived torturing others. III. Body Paragraph # 2: HESTER Topic Sentence – how does this sentence connect to your thesis statement? – Because Hester was able to admit to herself and the people she lived with about her sins, she lead a truthful life and ended up learning about herself and being unshameful for who she was.
A. Quote #1 – “The very law that condemned [Hester]-a giant of stern features, but with vigor to support, as well as to annihilate, in his iron arm-help her up, though the terrible ordeal of her ignominy” (Hawthorne 66).
a. how does the quote support your topic sentence? – Although the letter brought her shame, she grew stronger mentally and because more wise about life around her and helped her overcome her sinful act.
B. Quote # 2 – “The tendency of her Fate and fortunes had been to set [Hester] free. The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers…they had made her strong” (Hawthorn 165). b. how does the quote support your topic sentence? – rom Hester’s scarlet letter, she was able to experience aspects of life and new discoveries that a normal woman condemned by society would not. She had more freedom that those who were socially accepted and got to live life the way she wanted.
C. Quote # 3 – “…the scarlet letter ceased to be a stigma which attracted the world’s scorn and bitterness, became a type of something to be sorrowed over, and looked upon with awe, yet with reverence too. And, as Hester Prynne had no selfish ends, nor lived in any measure for her own profit and enjoyment, people brought all their sorrows and perplexities, and besaught her counsel, as one who had herself gone through a mighty trouble” (Hawthorne 215).
c. How does the quote support your topic sentence? – Because of the scarlet letter, Hester was able to end up helped others with their problems and brought peace to others minds and was looked up to because she was so open and willing to tell people about what she had done. She did good for her society even though she was shamed upon because she wanted to help others.
D. Concluding sentence – Hester was open about her wrongdoings, and from that she didn’t have a burden on herself and was able to grow from how she was seen differently. From her suffering, she helped other people get through their problems. IV. Body Paragraph # 3: DIMMESDALE Topic Sentence – how does this sentence connect to your thesis statement? – Arthur Dimmesdale was loved by all his townspeople but lied about himself because he was cowardly and kept a secret that would lead to his suffering.
A. Quote #1 – “[Dimmesdale] had striven to put a cheat upon himself by making the avowal of a guilty conscience, but had gained only one other sin, and a self-acknowledged shame, without the momentary relief of being self-deceived…by the constitution of his nature, he loved the truth, and loathed the lie, as few men ever did. Therefore above all things else, he loathed his miserable self!” (Hawthorn 120).
a. how does the quote support your topic sentence? – Dimmesdale hated lying, yet lied for 7 years and felt awful about himself. He was miserable and unhappy showing why someone should reveal their sins.
B. Quote # 2 – “‘No, Hester, no!’ replied the clergyman. ‘There is no substance in it! It is cold and dead, and can do nothing got [Dimmesdale]! Of penance [he] had enough, of penitence there has been none!'” (159)
b. how does the quote support your topic sentence? – Dimmesdale is not showing he is sorry for his actions because he does not want to admit to the townspeople that he has sinned. Instead, he self punishes himself to try to feel better but ends up feeling worse and wishes that he didn’t feel like such a liar to the townspeople who trust him.
C. Quote # 3 – “[God] hath proved is mercy, most of all, in my afflictions. By giving me this burning torture to bear upon my breast…That final word came forth with the minister’s expiring breath. The multitude, silent till then, broke out in a strange, deep voice of awe and wonder, which could not as yet find utterance, save in this mutmut that rolled so heavily after the departed spirit” (210)
c. How does the quote support your topic sentence? – Dimmesdale ended up dying from his sins and self punishment because he kept lying to everyone who trusted him.
D. Concluding sentence – If Dimmesdale had told the truth and admitted and learned from his sins, he wouldn’t have ended up suffering and dying unhappy, instead he would have grown as a person and learned from his mistakes. V. Concluding paragraph – Roger Chillingworth and Arthur Dimmesdale both lead secretive lives that ended up being the main reason for their deaths, while Hester who was truthful ended up leading a life helping those around her. Revealing sin ends up being positive because it shows truthfulness and strength while hiding sin leads to unhappiness and eternal pain.
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