Slippery Slope

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EL266

"Such was his sense of power over this virgin soul, trusting him as she did, that the minister felt potent to blight all the field of innocence with but one wicked look, and develop all its opposite with but a word. So- with a mightier struggle than he had yet sustained- he held his Geneva cloak before his face, and hurried onward." (200-201)

Seriously? One sin, and the decision to commit another, and all the sudden Dimmesdale has the urge to go about blighting fields of innocence? I guess Hawthorne is trying to suggest some sort of continuing corruption, or something, but the way in which it is shown seems kinda silly. It's a bit like DARE propoganda suggesting that a single hit of marijuana will eventually lead to a heroin addiction.

The only way in which any of Dimmesdale's desired indescretions can seem plausible, is if they'd been long-time desires of his, that he'd forced himself to avoid. I can buy the idea that a couple cracks in the wall holding back desire can cause the whole thing to collapse. This version would come accross as far more realistic, and plausible. It's a bit more like a scenario wherein a former heroin addict gets high once, and then finds themself off on a binge.

Doing something one normally forbids themself from doing, can eventually lead one to do other things they likewise forbid themself from doing. However, doing something one normally forbids themself from doing, will not lead them to do other things that are wrong, unless the desire was previously present, yet suppressed.

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