Books and Movies Reviews

Revealing the Truth, Sins and Society in The Scarlet Letter

"Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred!" (page 260) White lies, grey lies, and plain old dirty fat lies are sprinkled out every day like a fountain. The only true difference between them is the amount of guilt they place on the liar. If they feel guilt, then they suffer greatly throughout their lives, from lots of small indiscretions or just once large one. The majority of the people in this world have the ability to alleviate their guilt through some kind of penance, but for some that is not enough. Anything they do can not repeal the feeling of guilt and the knowledge they did something wrong. People like this make themselves sick with worry and regret, and they often die of their disease: depression. Those people who do manage to drop their guilt become productive members of society again because they have reconnected with the rest of the human race. They don't deny their guilt or their crimes, they just acknowledge there are some things they cannot change and they can just try to make up for them.
In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne the decision of the characters to either admit or hide the truth determines the quality of their lives. Through Hester Prynne, Hawthorne explains her sin of adultery and how she becomes stronger by it. Reverend Dimmesdale deals with his sin of adultery personally because he does not reveal the sin, which allows him to become ill with guilt. If hidden, sin will destroy, but if revealed and repented it is capable of making one stronger. While Hester Pryne gained freedom from her guilt, Dimmsdale's failure to admit his crime slowly destroyed his life. Dimmsdale never confessed his sin, even though he was given numerous opportunities. And, like Chillingsworth said at the end of the book, a confession would have ended Chillingsworth's evil prematurely: "there was no one place so secret,…


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