Write a brief overview of Leo Tolstoy’s ‘The Penitent Sinner’, explaining primarily what the short story is about.

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In “The Penitent Sinner” a seventy-year old man is dying when he realizes he has lived a life of sin and now is penitent, or regretful.  He begs for mercy and calls out that he loves God.  He is crying as he dies, begging for Christian mercy.  He ends up at the gates of Heaven, where he is greeted by St. Peter the Apostle.  St. Peter recites a list of his sins and refuses to let him in.  He waits, and then another voice answers.  This turns out to be King David.  He is not much more forgiving than St. Peter, and also does not let the sinner in.  After another wait John the Divine answers.  The sinner is overjoyed, and he argues that John has to let him in because John said that God is love and as long as the sinner loves God he can get into Heaven, God loves him and will forgive him.  The does the trick, and the gates of Heaven open to the Penitent Sinner, who hugs John.

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