Finally, redemption is possible and is achieved by some: when Hester, Pearl and Dimmesdale all stand on the public scaffold, Dimmesdale falls fatally ill and Pearl kisses him, the spell of sinfulness is broken for them (Hawthorne 175), while Chillingworth "positively withered up, shrivelled away and almost vanished from mortal sight" because his plan to destroy Dimmesdale were simultaneously broken (Hawthorne 175). In sum, Puritan religious views are highly influential in Hawthorne's the Scarlet Letter. However, Steinbeck's Cannery Row is not at all concerned with formal religion's concepts of sin, guilt, alienation and redemption.
John Steinbeck's Cannery Row and Nathaniel Hawthorne's the Scarlet Letter reveal views of humanity that are very much alike in at least one respect and quite different in at least another respect. Both authors extensively use paradox to describe their characters and therefore speak to the complexity of human beings. In Steinbeck's characters of...
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