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Ethan Brand

In this excerpt, from Hawthorne's Fiction: The Light and the Dark, Richard Harter Fogle explains how Brand's Unpardonable Sin is due to his assuming he has become as the gods.

"This man, once 'simple and loving,' has sinned from almost inconceivable pride, which has alienated him from God and man. The Unpardonable Sin might be said to lie in the search for the Unpardonable Sin: Ethan Brand has sought to become even as the gods, knowing alike of good and evil, and he is punished for his presumption. He has 'lost his hold of the magnetic chain of humanity.' His intellect has come 'to stand on a star-lit eminence, whither the philosophers of the earth…might vainly strive to clamber after him'; but his heart has correspondingly atrophied. It has 'ceased to partake of the universal throb.' Through pride Brand has gained knowledge without love and has desecrated the human spirit by cold and prying intellectual analysis" (44). (courtesy of University of Oklahoma Press)

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