What is Nathaniel Hawthorne's view of sin based on "The Minister's Black Veil" and "The Scarlet Letter?"

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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With "The Minister's Black Veil" the sin in question is original sin, or the fact that we are all unable to be in God's presence because of Adam and Eve's choice to eat the forbidden fruit. In "The Scarlet Letter," however, the sin in question is adultery. The contrast between these two sins is that the former is not our fault, per se, because we are all in the same predicament; but the latter, on the other hand, is a sin committed by individual choice. Hawthorne's analysis of sin is dependent upon these two different types of sin within a similar society. In both stories, there is a preacher involved, or one who should know better and is called of God to be an example. At the time, preachers were respected more highly than other public officials or teachers (who were also beacons in the community). In the end, it seems as if Hawthorne shows that no one is exempt from sin, even the the preachers.  Some at that time thought that the preachers could do no wrong. Hawthorne presents the "what if" question to oppose or even satarize the opinion.


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