This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Sin Of Desire Comparing Nathaniel Hawthorne's Two Stories, "The Birthmark" And "The Scarlet Letter",

743 words - 3 pages

Nathaniel Hawthorne's two stories, "The Birthmark" and "The Scarlet Letter", have very similar themes and plots. The two stories were written in the 1800's when Europeans, that practised the Puritan religion, started to move to America. The two stories share similar themes of sin and desire with underlying Puritan values.Aylmer, the devoted scientist in "The Birthmark", marries a beautiful woman with a single physical flaw, a birthmark on her face. The tale evolves around his progressive frenzy to use his scientific skills to render his bride perfect. Hester Prynne of "The Scarlet Letter" falls in love with the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale when she first moves to America to set up a home for her husband. They secretly begin an affair. The result of this affair is Hester becomes pregnant. When the government finds out, she is publically humiliated and thrown in jail where she gives birth to her daughter, Pearl. Her husband arrives and is now driven by the idea to find out who was Hester's lover and destroy his life, as well as the life of Hester.Throughout the two stories, sin is the major theme. Sin and knowledge are linked in the Puritan religion. Hester Prynne of "The Scarlet Letter" was said to have sinned when she had an affair. She was a strong, free-spirited woman whom the society felt threatened by. Her desire and love became ostracised as a sin. Aylmer of "The Birthmark" was believed to have sinned when he overextended the reach from realm of natural into that of the divine. He tampered with God's creations. He tried to make his wife perfect but he could not see that she already was. Aylmer tried to obtain what he thought he wanted, but only by sacrificing the thing he loved but took for granted. The Puritans believed that science and knowledge was a sin. His quest for perfection and knowledge became an obsession. He believed that his wife's one imperfection, the birthmark, had to be eradicated .The narrator described his obsession as, "He had devoted himself, however, too unreservedly to scientific studies," (Hawthorne 639). The Puritan religion would have seen his devotion to science as a sin. Though, who is to say what is a sin in God's...

Find Another Essay On The Sin of Desire Comparing Nathaniel Hawthorne's two stories, "The Birthmark" and "The Scarlet Letter",

Individualism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

1065 words - 4 pages Individualism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Often in society people are criticized, punished and despised for their individual choices and flaws. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author uses Hester Prynne to symbolize that those who challenge social conformities can benefit society as a whole. Though she has been banished for committing adultery, she sees that the community needs her. Through her

This essay compares and contrasts the sin in Nathaniel Hawthorne's short stories "The Birthmark," "The Minister's Black Veil," and "Young Goodman Brown."

1035 words - 4 pages description of the three mentioned stories, "Young Goodman Brown," "The Minister's Black Veil," and "The Birthmark," readers come to understand the many ways in which Nathaniel Hawthorne conveyed his beliefs regarding sin. The conclusion is reached that all humans must have some form of sin, whether it be it the form of selfishness, passion, or any other manner, and that most people try to conceal these sins in order to appear perfect. Hawthorne also

Passion in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

1371 words - 5 pages Hawthorne, in his novel The Scarlet Letter, examines how they are fundamentally the same because of their intimacy and the power with which they shape people and society. In the same way as love, hatred requires a certain intimacy between two people. A relationship cannot consist of either love or hate without there first being a close relationship between two individuals. Hawthorne explains that for these emotions to exist, “each, in its

The Pillory in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter

652 words - 3 pages description exemplifies the heinous sense of justice of the Puritans. It reflects and firmly establishes the outrage against human nature of which the Puritans are guilty. All of the ugly and immoral practices of their society are replicated in the pillory, and its very existence is a defiance of that which is good and natural. Through this defiance, justice cannot truly be achieved to the fullest extent.   Works Cited 1.  Hawthorne, Nathaniel.  The Scarlet Letter. The Cornwall Press, inc., Cornwall, New York. 1948.

Light and Darkness in the Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter"

757 words - 3 pages Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is one of the most analyzed and most discussed literary works in American literature and for good reason. Hawthorne's ambiguity and his intense use of symbols have made this work incredibly complex and incredibly bothersome. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses many symbols to give insight into characters and promote his views on society. The scaffold scenes in The Scarlet Letter tell the

Hawthorne's Hierarchy of Sin in The Scarlet Letter

1402 words - 6 pages Hawthorne's Hierarchy of Sin in The Scarlet Letter        Throughout the novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne focuses on the struggle of Hester Prynne, a woman who is forced to deal with the strict Puritan punishment for the adulterous birth of her child, Pearl.  Yet, the very Puritan values that bring Hester public ignominy help to lift her to a position of respect in the community.  Although Hawthorne does not condone Hester's

The Righteous Hester Prynne of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

1213 words - 5 pages The Strong and Righteous Hester of The Scarlet Letter     "What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us," stated Oliver Wendell Holmes. This eventually proves to be especially true for Hester Prynne, the main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Hester Prynne, a fair young maiden whose husband had disappeared two years prior to the opening of the novel, has an affair with

The Themes of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

1942 words - 8 pages The Themes of The Scarlet Letter        The Scarlet Letter is a romantic novel, mainly because it is a long, fictitious tale of heroes and extraordinary events.  Unfolding over a seven year period, we are treated to the heroism of Hester Prynne and her adulterous beloved, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale and the mysterious actions and behavior of their love child, Pearl, and the witch, Mistress Hibbins.  The story is set against the

"The Necessity of Identity" - The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Discusses Hawthorne's themes of isolation versus communal sin

764 words - 3 pages themselves in isolation from such austere expectations such as those of Puritan societies may escape the necessity for conformity and truly develop their own identity. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, displays the inability to obtain a balance between the strict standards of this society and personal expression. It is within this major theme of the story that Hawthorne embraces a constant battle that remains a struggle to this day. Bibliography:Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Boston: Ticknor, Reed & Fields, 1850.

Symbols and Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

1243 words - 5 pages Symbols in The Scarlet Letter      In nearly every work of literature, readers can find symbols that represent feelings, thoughts or ideas within the text.  Such symbols can be found in The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Hawthorne's book about an affair between a woman named Hester and a minister named Arthur Dimmmesdale is full of feelings of sin, guilt, hate, secrecy, and honesty.  There are many symbols within the novel

Guilt as Reparation for Sin in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

5479 words - 22 pages makes the guilt increase. Nathaniel Hawthorne is trying to display how guilt is the everlasting payment for sinful actions. The theme of guilt as reparation for sin in The Scarlet Letter is revealed through Nathaniel Hawthorne’s use of northeastern, colonial settings, various conflicts, and characters that must live with guilt for the sins they have committed. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s elaborately descriptive writing style has been

Similar Essays

Sin In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

2142 words - 9 pages      Nathaniel Hawthorne's bold novel, The Scarlet Letter, revolves around sin and punishment.  The main characters of the novel sharply contrast each other in the way they react to the sin that has been committed             Dimmesdale's instantaneous response to the sin is to lie.  He stands before Hester and the rest of the town and proceeds to give a moving speech about how it would be in her and the father's best interest for her to

Sin And Punishment In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

1671 words - 7 pages representation of sin, honesty, and in the end redemption. Her character is extremely complex because her symbolism changes throughout the novel. Her development shows the progression of various themes. Pearl introduces themes of sin, acknowledgment of those sins, and finally acceptance of those sins. Hawthorne introduces her as merely a symbol, but then transforms her into a human of flesh and blood. Pearl’s character is one of the most important characters in because of her complex symbolism and the various functions she provides in the novel. Works Cited Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: Dover Publications, 1994. Print.

Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Essay

1605 words - 6 pages Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is, at times, a piece that seems intended to drive one beyond any hope of reasoning. Its occasionally overpowering allegorical symbolism or its seemingly eclectic mythology can certainly seem like a purist allegory designed to imbue in one the fear of eternal sin. However, when one takes the time to read beyond the simple story and to realize the true nature of Hawthorne's verbal artistry, it becomes

The Benefits Of Sin Revealed In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

1683 words - 7 pages The Benefits of Sin Revealed in The Scarlet Letter       According to Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter, each of us is born with "original sin" we have inherited from the misdeeds of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. As Eve bit hungrily into the apple from the Tree of Knowledge, starving for wisdom, little did she know that the entire human race would thereafter be tainted by her "sin." Hawthorne and many others believe that ever