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Adam is the imperfect hero of the novel. At the outset
of the novel, he is a proud man who considers himself a good carpenter
and a hard worker. But he is judgmental toward his father, whose
death causes him to examine his heart. Adam has a soft spot for
all helpless creatures, including his dog, Gyp, and his brother,
Seth. However, he has no tolerance for evil because he cannot understand
temptation. Adam believes that when a man decides that something
is wrong, it is easy to avoid that action. Obsessed with Hetty Sorrel, Adam
only sees the best in her. Blinded by her physical beauty, he cannot
see that she is really a shallow, vain young girl. Upon finding out
about the affair between Hetty and Captain Donnithorne, Adam blames
Captain Donnithorne and continues to believe only the best about
Hetty, even to the point of proposing to her in spite of her tarnished
honor. But Hetty’s arrest for murder nearly crushes Adam, especially
as he comes to realize that Hetty actually did kill her infant,
a crime he considers to be completely against all human and female
intuition and nature. He struggles with the irreparable nature of
the crime she has committed and the evil that has been committed
against her. After he recovers from the shock of Hetty’s crime,
however, Adam’s character is mellowed by the experience. His pride
is largely humbled, and he is less judgmental of others.