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Ethan Brand

This excerpt, from Richard Harter Fogle's Hawthorne's Fiction: The Light and the Dark, clarifies the difference between Ethan's sin and the sin of the villagers.

Ethan Brand, who cast himself away by his own choice, is frequently more admirable than the inferior sinners about him. It is impossible not to sympathize with Brand when he returns to his native village, an artist of the perverse, but still an artist. Ironically enough, the import of his burden is totally beyond the comprehension of all but little Joe, who perceives it intuitively. Brand is beaten by the Philistinism of the village, which even the spectacle of the Unpardonable Sin fails to impress beyond a momentary superstitious dread. (54-55)(courtesy of University of Oklahoma Press)

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