Sunday, June 2, 2019
The Reality of Ethan Brands Unpardonable Sin :: Ethan Brand Essays
The Reality of Ethan inciters Unpardonable SinThe relentless obsession of one man becomes the theme of Nathaniel Hawthornes haunting tale, Ethan Brand. A lime-burner by trade in the hills of Western Massachusetts, Brand passes the lonely hours of the night staring into the intense flames of the kiln, contemplating the theological doctrine of the unpardonable sin. What sin could be so all told evil that even the great God of Heaven could not forgive? I remember as a child, listening to my father, as he stood in the pulpit and expounded to his congregation the very same subject that had so totally mesmerized Hawthornes character, Ethan Brand. I remember the many questions I had about this horrible sin. What was it? Could I commit the unpardonable sin? Maybe I already had. That was the most disturbing of all. It seems that literary critic R. P. Blackmur has experienced something of the same when he writes I do not know how it may be now, but when I was a boy the unpardonable sin, the unforgivable sin, or--as I was taught in church, the sin of blasphemy against the sanctified Ghost--was a major though intermittent attraction in the short times that seem so long just before sleep. It was a frighten possibility that I might find what it was and how to do it the frightening thing was that I might then have to do it, as if discovery was demonstrable commission of the sin. The verse in St. Mark (319) contained as much potential horror as anything I have ever read...so when I read Ethan Brand I knew where he was....(179). Since that time, I have taken my place in the pulpit of a church like my father before me. And on occasion, I too address the subject and receive the same questions that I, and others like me, pondered so long ago the very same question that haunts, possesses, and ultimately ruins Ethan Brand. Driven by his insatiable desire to uncover the deep truth of this frightening possibility, Ethan Brand left his lonely lime kiln on a quest, a quest that wou ld ship him the world over in search of the unpardonable sin. For eighteen years he studied and researched the idea that slowly took him over. When his search began, Brand was a cordial and gentle man concerned for the well-being of others. The narrator describes him as .