Coward And A Hypocrite


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coward and a hypocrite Scarlet Letter 9009

People live with lies every day.  Everyone from the President of the
United States to the poorest beggar in New York City has told a lie.  White
lies, gray lies, and plain old dirty fat lies are strewn forth every day like
water from 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
dont deny their guilt or their crimes, they just acknowledge there are some
things they cannot change, 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.  While
Hester Pryne admits her sins and resolves them over time through her
charity work, Arthur Dimmsdale bottles up his sins and, even though he
physically tortures himself, cannot resolve his great misdeeds..
The first character to choose a path is Hester Pryne.  While she did
have a child when she hadnt seen her husband in over a year, (a dead
giveaway) she could have easily fled the colony before the birth.  She
instead stayed and faced her peers, and in that way she admitted her sin.  To
flee would have led her along a completely different path, one of denial.
Hester didnt quite buy into all the Puritan ideals, but she knew adultery was
a sin against God, it said so in the bible.  Only the tremendous courage she
had, and the large sense of righteousness in her blood kept her from fleeing.
And she obviously believed that her form of penance, would be enough to
gain her sanctity in the eyes of God, even though the Puritans held opposing
beliefs: The Scarlet Letter explicitly declares the impossibility of
redemption for the sinner. (pg#)  If you dont let the world share in your
guilt, it will all be upon you, and only you.  With the crushing weight of
guilt she would have had she would not lived longer than those seven years.
Even the Puritan people who openly despised her at the time she exposed
her sin, eventually were won over by her vast charity work.  They begin to
associate the letter A with able, and not adultery.  And all she accomplished
was because she spoke the truth, and the truth wasnt really as bad as it
looked.  Her husband was an old misshapen man who she had no love for.
He had been gone for a long period of time, and maybe she believed that he
was even dead.  Her sin was remote and not completely justified in the
morals of these modern times, and she grasped that even then.  The author
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote it best:  Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely
to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be
inferred. (242)   If all the people know your worst, only then can they begin
to work through that and begin to see your best.  If all they see is the good
side of you, then you are holding back from them, lying to them.  Only
when you show both sides do you begin to gain penance, and that is exactly
what Hester Pryne did.  While Hester Pryne gained freedom from her guilt,
Dimmsdales 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 Chillingsworths evil prematurely:
There was no place where thou couldst have escaped me! (236)  In an
obvious parallel to Hesters stout and quick admittance, Dimmsdale is the
contradiction: he suffers great agony and fails to admit his sin until minutes
before his death (a cowardly way out).  His great Puritanical beliefs left him
no recourse really: ... more

coward and a hypocrite

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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

In Mark Twain's novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry
Finn, Twain develops the plot into Huck and Jim's
adventures allowing him to weave in his criticism of society.
The two main characters, Huck and Jim, both run from
social injustice and both are distrustful of the civilization
around them. Huck is considered an uneducated backwards
boy, constantly under pressure to conform to the
"humanized" surroundings of society. Jim a slave, is not even
considered as a real person, but as property. As they run
from civilization and are on the river, they ponder the social
injustices forced upon them when they are on land. These
social injustices are even more evident when Huck and Jim
have to make landfall, and this provides Twain with the
chance to satirize the socially correct injustices that Huck
and Jim encounter on land. The satire that Twain uses to
expose the hypocrisy, racism, greed and injustice of society
develops along with the adventures that Huck and Jim have.
The ugly reflection of society we see should make us
question the world we live in, and only the journey down the
river provides us with that chance. Throughout the book we
see the hypocrisy of society. The first character we come
across with that trait is Miss Watson. Miss Watson
constantly corrects Huck for his unacceptable behavior, but
Huck doesn't understand why, "That is just the way with
some people. They get down on a thing when they don't
know nothing about it" (2). Later when Miss Watson tries to
teach Huck about Heaven, he decides against trying to go
there, "...she was going to live so as to go the good place.
Well, I couldn't see no advantage in going where she was
going, so I made up my mind I wouldn't try for it." (3) The
comments made by Huck clearly show Miss Watson as a
hypocrite, scolding Huck for wanting to smoke and then
using snuff herself and firmly believing that she would be in
heaven. When Huck encounters the Grangerfords and
Shepardsons, Huck describes Colonel Grangerford as, "...a
gentleman, you see. He was a gentleman all over; and so
was his family. He was well born, as the saying is, and that's
worth as much in a man as it is in a horse..." (104). You can
almost hear the sarcasm from Twain in Huck's description of
Colonel Grangerford. Later Huck is becoming aware of the
hypocrisy of the family and its feud with the Shepardsons
when Huck attends church. He is amazed that while the
minister preaches about brotherly love both the
Grangerfords and Shepardsons are carrying weapons.
Finally when the feud erupts into a gunfight, Huck sits in a
tree, disgusted by the waste and cruelty of the feud, "It made
me so sick I most fell out of the tree...I wished I hadn't ever
come ashore that night to see such things." Nowhere else is
Twain's voice heard more clearly than as a mob gathers at
the house of Colonel Sherburn to lynch him. Here we hear
the full force of Twain's thoughts on the hypocrisy an
cowardice of society, "The idea of you lynching anybody!
It's amusing. The idea of you thinking you had pluck enough
to lynch a man!...The pitifulest thing out is a mob; that's what
an army is- a mob; they don't fight with courage that's born
in them, but with courage that's borrowed from their mass,
and from their officers. But a mob without any man at the
head of it is beneath pitifulness" (146-147). Each of these
examples finds Huck again running to freedom of the river.
The river never cares how saintly you are, how rich you are,
or what society thinks you are. The river allows Huck the
one thing that Huck wants to be, and that is Huck. The river
is freedom than the land is oppression, and that oppression is
no more evident than it is to Jim. It is somewhat surprising
that Huck's traveling companion is Jim. As anti-society that
Huck is, you would think that he would have no qualms
about helping Jim. But Huck has to have feelings that slavery
is correct so we can see the ignorance of racial bigotry.
Huck and Jim's journey begins as Huck fights within himself
about turning Jim over to the authorities. Finally he decides
not to turn Jim in. This is a monumental decision for Huck to
make, even though he makes it on the spot. This is not just a
boy running away from home. It is someone who has
decided to turn his back on everything "home" stands ... more

coward and a hypocrite

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