Sin in Hawthorne’s Eyes as Reflected in his Stories
How his stories deal with the reality of sin, the pervasiveness of evil, the secret sin and insincerity of all persons, the hypocrisy of Puritanism, and other themes.
The works of Nathaniel Hawthorne are well known for the ethical problems of sin, punishment, and atonement. This can is clearly seen in his story Young Goodman Brown. The theme of the story deals with the reality of sin, the pervasiveness of evil, the secret sin and insincerity of all persons, the hypocrisy of Puritanism, the results of doubt or disbelief, the devastating effects of moral skepticism, and the demoralizing effects of the discovery that all men are sinners and hypocrites. Hawthorne’s exploration of these themes was related to the sense of guilt he felt about the roles of his ancestors in the 17th-century persecution of Quakers. Another important idea that inspired him in writing his stories had to do with the famous 1692 witchcraft trials of Salem, Massachusetts (where he was born) that he experienced.