Guilt In The Crucible

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Leuel Demess Mrs. Levin American Literature 29 November 2014 Power of Guilt In modern society, concealing guilt is often given a negative connotation, however, the implications that are associated with guilt and sins are human creations. Guilt, the result of shameful mistakes, is associated with infirmity, cowardice, and self-centeredness due to the fear of exposure. These three mesmerizing works, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Pie” by Gary Soto and, “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller, address the theme of guilt and the consequences of concealing one’s guilt. Written in 1850, The Scarlet Letter, considered one of the most famous of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s,…show more content…
“The Crucible” was written in 1953 and exposes the truths about the Salem Witchcraft trials, in Massachusetts. Ultimately, through their respective protagonists’ acts of aggression and violations of boundaries, authors Hawthorne, Soto, and Miller illustrate that the guilt derived from sin itself, especially if concealed from society, can cause emotional and mental torture, leading to everlasting internal punishment, and an increase in remorseful feelings. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne depicts the consequences of concealing transgression through Hester by showing the internal punishment she faces and overcomes. Hawthorne opens this novel with a depiction of Hester’s punishment where she publically shamed on a scaffold and has no hope of hiding or concealing her guilt and sin. The author introduces an image of guilt and shame through the description of Hester as she appears from the darkness of the prison to the dazzling light of the day. Hawthorne describes Hester by saying, “In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another, she took the baby on her arm,…show more content…
Gary Soto shows us this experience through his six-years old self and a recreation of his guilt and persecution complex, through veiled Judeo-Christian allusions, religious imagery, irony, and repetition. Soto’s usage of repetition displays the expression of guilt he feels by God’s presence, further exemplifying the notion that ultimate salvation and punishment can only be granted by the Lord. In addition, Soto repeats multiple ideas throughout his piece. The scene about the plumbing under the house, is repeated three times to magnify the feeling that God knows what sin he has committed, and his concealment of it is only making him feel worse. The plumbing scene is a connection to God and the six-year-old Soto, as he believes God is speaking to him through it. Toward the end of the passage, Soto, “listens, ear pressed to a cold pipe, and [hears] a howl like the sea” (81-83). What he seems to believe is God “howl” is actually his guilty conscious nagging at Soto to not only confess what sin he has committed, theft, but to also repent and pay for what he has done. In addition, Soto uses the word “wept” (12) to show his longing for the pie, “crying” (43) to represent his gratification, and “tears” (52) to exemplify his guilt, a bitter sweet combination of emotions

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