The Sin of Omission and Commission in the Scarlet Letter (Essay Sample)
- American Literature Midterm Exam Essay Question 2018
VII. Essay Question: The Scarlet Letter (20 points)
Your essay should include:
An introduction with a thesis statement.
Use one quotation from the novel only that relates to one of the five points below.
Place your quote within your introduction.
Use well developed body paragraphs to further develop your stance.
Use specific details and examples from the novel to support your thesis.
Maintain proper grammar and mechanics throughout the essay.
Include a conclusion that summarizes your topic and overall piece.
The Scarlet Letter examines human motives, sin, and the weakness in human nature as well as the difficulty in trying to evade the truth. Choose one of the statements below and write an essay agreeing or disagreeing with the statement as it applies to the ideas presented in The Scarlet Letter. Support your point of view by using specific examples from The Scarlet Letter.
Most problems in life are not clearly either/or situations. Confusion is created when making decisions and judgments on that basis.
“Be true! Be true” is a good motto to follow in life.
Escape from a problem is neither sensible nor a workable solution.
Sins of omission (not doing something one should) and sins of commission (doing something one shouldn’t) are equally serious.
Some people say that the real point of Hawthorne’s tale was to criticize hypocrisy rather than adultery.
A recurring theme in literature is the classic war between a passion and responsibility.
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January 22, 2018
The Sin of Omission and Commission in the Scarlet Letter
The story of the Scarlet Letter is perhaps one of the most well-known stories in Western literature. It narrates the life of Hester Prynne and her infant daughter Pearl, who were both living in Boston during the seventeenth century. Mainly, the scarlet letter refers to the “A” symbol that was attached to Prynne's breast, denoting that she was an “adulterer” (Nagy and Hawthorne 1995). It was meant to be a symbol of shame and guilt that she would have to bear every single day of her and her infant's life. Nevertheless, as the story progresses it would be apparent that rather than being a symbol of incapacity and sin, the letter attached to her breast has then transmogrified into something symbolic, which connotes her being “Able” instead. Specifically, instead of criticizing adultery, I believe that the Scarlet Letter is mainly about the themes pertaining to the importance of independence, passion, and hard work as compared to the recurring theme of the era which heavily suggests their need to depend on men. In order to understand the said literature let us look at the particular quote from Chapter XVIII of the story.
"She had wandered, without rule or guidance, into a moral wildernes
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