Culminating Project MP2 Part 2

Culminating Project MP2 Part 2

Published on 22 January 2023
Transcript
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Another vivid piece of literature that further examines inner conflict based on a set amount of individuals instead of a large community is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Scarlet Letter.” In the novel, all of its characters go through a personal struggle in 1600s Boston. One of the main characters that go through an internal conflict is Arthur Dimmesdale, who is used to show the themes of forgiving mistakes in the past and being truthful towards others. After Dimmesdale expressed his doubts about being able to be saved because of his sin, Hester replies to Dimmesale that
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“Thou art crushed under this seven years’ weight of misery. But thou shalt leave it all behind thee! It shall not cumber thy steps, as thou treadest along the forest–path: neither shalt thou freight the ship with it, if thou prefer to cross the sea. Leave this wreck and ruin here where it hath happened. Meddle no more with it! Begin all anew! Hast thou exhausted possibility in the failure of this one trial? Not so! The future is yet full of trial and success. There is happiness to be enjoyed! There is good to be done! Exchange this false life of thine for a true one. Be, if thy spirit summon thee to such a mission, the teacher and apostle of the red men. Or, as is more thy nature, be a scholar and a sage among the wisest and the most renowned of the cultivated world. Preach! Write! Act! Do anything, save to lie down and die! Give up this name of Arthur Dimmesdale, and make thyself another, and a high one, such as thou canst wear without fear or shame. Why shouldst thou tarry so much as one other day in the torments that have so gnawed into thy life? that have made thee feeble to will and to do? that will leave thee powerless even to repent? Up, and away!” (Hawthorne 163-164).
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Hester’s words of encouragement, and the promise that she will come with him, starts the resolution to Dimmesdale’s inner conflict as one person has forgiven him. The idea of leaving to another land also pressures Dimmesdale to let the people of Boston know what he has done before he leaves. These two things culminate into Dimmesdale finally letting the people know the truth and him finally accepting his sins. However, all of this comes from the interaction in the forest between two characters. Had this story been made from the view of Boston, the reader would have never seen the amount of inner conflict going on in Dimmesdale and Hester’s encouragement. Which is why Hawthorne put the story in the perspective of a few individuals to enhance the themes of forgiveness and honesty.
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Another example where Hawthorne uses Dimmesdale to further express the themes of truth and redemption is his public confession of his sin. As Hester and Pearl come up to the scaffold with Dimmesdale, he announces to the people “ye, that have loved me!—ye, that have deemed me holy!—Behold me here, the one sinner of the world! At last!—At last!—I stand upon the spot where, seven years since, I should have stood here, with this woman, whose arm, more than the little strength wherewith I have crept hitherward, sustains me at this dreadful moment, from groveling down upon my face! Lo, the scarlet letter which Hester wears! Ye have all shuddered at it! Wherever her walk hath been—wherever, so miserably burdened, she may have hoped to find repose—it hath cast a lurid gleam of awe and horrible repugnance round about her. But there stood one in the midst of you, at whose brand of sin and infamy ye have not shuddered!” (Hawthorne 208).
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This final confession of sin to the people is what finally resolves Dimmesdale’s internal struggle with himself and fully solidifies the message of redemption and truth to the reader. But the build up to this crucial moment would have meant nothing to the reader had the story been about the people of Boston, and while a theme of integrity may show with a story like that, a theme of redeeming yourself would have been weak. These themes that build from the inner conflict of the human mind cannot be replicated or strengthened from a community based perspective.