People during Hawthorne's lifetime were still somewhat Puritanical, despite the fact that Puritanism itself was no longer popular. Most people felt that guilt and sin were things to hide and that crime and adultery were morally reprehensible actions. Based on his writings, however, I think Hawthorne took a somewhat different view. In texts like The Scarlet Letter and "The Minister's Black Veil," Hawthorne advances the idea that everyone sins and no one is immune, so we ought to be honest about our sinfulness rather than try to hide it. When we hide our sinfulness, we make other people believe that everyone but they are sinless, and this makes everyone more apt to hide their sinfulness, perpetuating the cycle. If we are all honest, instead, then we can support and help one another to be better people. However, we lose this opportunity to gain such support and assistance by continuing to try to hide this part of our very natures.