Comparison and Contrast of Emerson and Hawthorne

The transcendental period of American writing was a very important time for American literature. It produced many of the most famous authors in Americas history. Websters dictionary defines transcendentalism as a philosophy that asserts the primacy of the spiritual and transcendental over the material. What that means is that spirituality was more important than material possessions. Two very famous authors of this time were Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Emerson was a transcendentalist and in his writings are many characteristics of this time period. Three of those characteristics are nature, the oodness of mankind, and individualism. Hawthorne, on the other hand was a non-transcendentalist. In his writings, the way he dealt with the same three characteristics shows why he is a non-transcendentalist. Nature was a very important subject of transcendental writing. Emerson quite frequently wrote about a oneness with nature.

Two very good examples of his opinion of nature are found in his essay Nature and in his poem The Rhodora In The Rhodora he writes This charm is wasted on earth and sky, what he is saying in that line is how something as simple as a flower is to beautiful and to wonderful to be wasted on earth. He is saying that this flower has a kind of beauty that goes beyond reality and that by simply observing this flower a person understands the universe better. Emerson believed that nature should be observed but not disturbed and by observing nature we are learning more about ourselves.

In his essay Nature he writes I am a transparent eyeball; I am nothing: I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part and parcel of God. What he means there is that he is simply meant to observe everything that he can about nature and about the universe without interfering. His being a transparent eyeball makes it possible for him to watch and learn without being noticed and without doing anything to harm or interfere with nature. It is next to impossible to miss Emersons frequent references to nature in these and many other of his works.

He writes in such a way that makes it very easy to understand his thoughts and feelings about the magnificence of nature. Hawthorne, however, had a different view of nature. In his writings nature is seen as an evil place where bad things happen. In The Scarlet Letter the forest is a place where many evil things occur. Mistress Hibbins frequently goes into the oods where the devil is. On a few separate occasions she asks Hester to go into the woods with her. Hester refuses because she has her daughter to keep her away from further sin. Hawthorne also showed a dislike of nature in his life.

There was a short period of time when he tried to live in the Utopian community of Brooke Farm. He hated it and left after only a few short months. He very obviously did not like nature. Which is a very big non-transcendental view. The goodness of mankind is another characteristic of transcendental writing. Emerson, like other transcendentalists, believed that mankind was basically good ven though they did bad things. In is essay Self Reliance he talks about how man is good and should be striving towards perfection and being the best person that they can be.

Hawthornes opinion was exactly the opposite. In many of his stories he writes about hidden sins and he many times gave his characters some kind of symbol that represented their sin. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne was forced to wear the letter A on her chest because she refused to tell who the other sinner had been. Her sin was not a secret but the sin of Arthur Dimmesdale, the an she had committed adultery with, was. Hester also kept the identity of her husband, Roger Chillingworth a secret while he secretly plotted revenge against Dimmesdale.

The townspeople are portrayed as hypocrites who judge Hester when they have also sinned and therefore are just as bad as the main characters. The only good character in the whole story is little Pearl, Hesters daughter, who is portrayed as an innocent victim. A third characteristic of this time period is the emphasis on individuality and self reliance. Emerson believed that people should self reliant. His essay Self Reliance talks about how being and individual and standing up for what you elieve in leads to true greatness. He talks about how sometimes a person has to go against the crowd to achieve greatness.

In this essay he wrote speak what you believe today in words as hard as cannon balls and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today. That means that he believes people should always say what they believe and that they should say it with every ounce of strength in them. If they change their minds about something they should still say what they believe and not be afraid of changing their mind or of what other people might think about them. He believed that people should not be afraid to be wrong because there is always time to change your mind.

Hawthorne was definitely not a people person. He took being an individual to an extreme. There was a time in his life when he kept himself locked up alone in a room in his house that he called the dismal chamber for twelve years. He stayed there until he felt that he had learned how to write fiction well. The characters in many of his stories were also kept secluded from society. In The Scarlet Letter Hester was forced to seclude herself from society as a part of her punishment. People only associated with her when they had to. When people saw her they started whispering and gossiping. The children made fun of her daughter.

She was by all means an outcast. Dimmesdale kept himself seclude from society also. He did this out of shame ad guilt. He was to scared to admit to the crime that he had committed so her punished himself. Exactly how he did this is never really made clear in the story. When he did go out in public people noticed that his health was failing but they thought it was because he cared so very much about the ministry but it was put of fear and guilt. Chillingworht also kept himself secluded. He spent all of his time plotting revenge on Dimmesdale or damaging his name when no one even knew that he was Hesters husband.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was very much a transcendentalist and Nathaniel Hawthorne was very much a non-transcendentalist. Emerson wrote about the beauty of nature while Hawthorne wrote about it as an evil place. Emerson believed that man was good and Hawthorne believed that man was bad. Emerson thought that people should be individuals and be self reliant but Hawthorne took that idea to an extreme and turned it into seclusion. These are he reasons that these two men fit into their time period on opposite ends of the transcendental spectrum.

“The Birthmark” by Hawthorne

In “The Birthmark,” Hawthorne described a young scientist who killed his own wife by pursuing “perfect future” (Hawthorne, 220) while trying to remove a birthmark on his wife? s face. His name was Aylmer. He was a good scientist according to any standard. He was smart, diligent, and “an eminent proficient” (Hawthorne, 203) in natural science. Hawthorne was not against science; he was against “perfect science,” against the people who wanted a “perfect science. ” Aylmer was so devoted to science that his marriage with Georgiana, his wife, was “intertwined with his love of science.

Hawthorne, 203) A man loved science even more than his love of his own wife, no wonder he would sacrifice her life just for a perfect look on her face. Hawthorne was telling a truth, that a man has to be a good human first before he can be a good scientist. In the story, Hawthorne gradually set out the idea that Nature is equal to everyone; there is no perfection in the nature. As he said, “Nature, in one shape or another, stamps ineffaceably on all her productions.

Hawthorne, 205) Georgiana was a pretty lady; Nature has to bear a birthmark on her face in order to keep the balance, any attempt to remove it should and would result in disaster ? that leaded us to another conclusion Nature can not be changed or altered, or a punishment will come in someday. Interestingly, Hawthornes idea about dream is very scientific, “Truth often finds its way to the mind close muffled in robes of sleep, and then speaks with uncompromising directness of matters in regard to which we practice an unconscious self-deception during our waking moments.

Hawthorne, 207) This disclosed that Hawthorne himself was a good philosopher and scientist, which gave more credentials to this article. Sometimes, people concentrate too much on what science can do and how important science is in our lives. They developed a false trust in science. Aylmer thought he was competent to remove the birthmark, “I feel myself fully competent to render this dear cheek as faultless as its fellow; and the, most beloved, what will be my triumph when I shall have corrected what Nature left imperfect in her fairest work!

Hawthorne, 207) Also, “Aylmer appeared to believe that, by the plainest scientific logic, it was altogether within the limits of possibility to discover this long-sought medium. ” (Hawthorne, 211) But science can never solve all the problems, nor can human develop such a science. Even Aylmer himself, in his experiments, “Much as he had accomplished, she could not but observe that his most splendid successes were almost invariably failures, if compared with the ideal at which he aimed.

His brightest diamonds were the merest pebbles, and felt to be so by himself, in comparison with the inestimable gems which lay hidden beyond his reach. ” Aylmer had realized this himself, that? s reason why he “can scarcely glance over and keep [his] senses. ” (Hawthorne, 214) All the great scientific discoveries are originated from great failures, but people can only see the successes, not the failures. Science will advance, step by step. But will never reach a “perfect science. ” The pursue of “perfect science” can often lead to disasters because people live “once for all in eternity; to find the perfect future in the present. “

The Birthmark, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

In The Birthmark, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Georgianas futile attempt to be flawless by cooperating in her own murder doesnt make her any wiser, especially because such a sacrifice does not earn her closeness with her husband. The character of Georgiana epitomizes the virtues upheld by the conventions of her time; she is beautiful, docile and has no ambitions of her own other than to make her husband happy. In addition to this apparent perfect union is a “singular mark, deeply interwoven, as it were, with the texture and substance of her face” (Hawthorne 11).

The birthmark is differently interpreted by all. Initially Georgiana thinks of the birthmark, as a charm, and Aylmer knows not whether to term [the birthmark] a defect or a beauty . . . (Hawthorne 11). Most persons of her own sex refers it as the bloody hand, that Quite destroy(s) the effect of Georgianas beauty . . . (Hawthorne 11). While her admirers were wont to say that some fairy at her birth-hour had laid her tiny hand upon the infants cheek, and left this impress [the birthmark] there in token of the magic endowments that were to give her such sway over all hearts (Hawthorne 11).

Georgianas casual approach towards the birthmark reveals while she answers No, indeed, when her husband asks her has it never occurred to you [Georgiana] that the mark upon your cheek might be removed? (Hawthorne 10). Aylmer however visions the birthmark as Hawthorne says small blue stains which sometimes occur in the purest statuary marble . . . (11). Later on Georgiana soon learn(s) to shudder as her husbands hatred towards the birthmark considerably increases (Hawthorne 12). Aylmers obsession soon starts reflecting in Georgiana.

She at this point ignores all warnings and falls prey to her husbands ambition of removing the birthmark, of which, he although is convinced of the perfect practicability . . . (Hawthorne 13). Georgiana learns from Aylmers dream that, there might be a situation in the course of the operation when he might be inexorably resolved to cut or wrench it [her heart] away (Hawthorne 13). Her recent interpretation of the birthmark overshadows this dream as she now even at the remotest possibility wants that the attempt be made, at whatever risk (Hawthorne 13). Aylemers dream however is not the only warning that Georgiana receives.

Aylmer to gain confidence in her wife and to declare success in his new venture performs a couple of experiments, which results futile. Georgiana pays no heed when the whole plant suffer(s) a blight, its leaves turning coal-black as if by the agency of fire (Hawthorne 16). Neither did she understand when she finds the features of the portrait blurred and indefinable; while the minute figure of the hand appeared where the cheek should have been (Hawthorne 16). Aylmers throwing of the plate into a jar of corrosive acid could well have been a foreshadowing of her fate.

Furthermore, while poring over works in her husbands library, Georgiana loyally ignores the journal those reveal his [Aylmers] many failed experiments. The nadir of her [Georgianas] self-degradation and worship for her husband shielded her eyes from any logical deductions. Finally Gorgiana consumes the fatal concoction that grips her in its mortal claws. Aylmer prior her death confirms the concoction that Gorgiana mistakes as the elixir of life, to be poisonous (Hawthorne 17). Georgiana shows more concern by Aylmers possession of the concoction than her consuming it while saying, Why do you keep such a terrific drug? (Hawthorne 17).

She admires her husband even more for not accepting anything other than perfection and: She felt how much more precious was such a sentiment than the meaner kind which would have borne the imperfection for her sake, and have been guilty of treason to holy love by degrading its perfect idea to the level of the actual; and with her whole spirit she prayed that, for a single moment, she might satisfy his highest and deepest conception. (Hawthorne 21) Gorgiana now hates the birthmark even more than Aylmer does in wishing to put off this birthmark of mortality by relinquishing mortality itself in preference to any other mode (Hawthorne 21).

Even after realizing that her husbands concoction has proved fatal; Georgiana shows no sign of repenting but consoles her husband by saying you have aimed loftily; you have done nobly. Do not repent that, with so high and pure a feeling, you have rejected the best the earth could offer (Hawthorne 23). Hawthorne concludes the story by saying, he [Aylmer] need not thus have flung away the happiness which would have woven his mortal life of the self-same texture with the celestial (23).

This perhaps can be said for Georgiana too. It can also be said that the fatal concoction damages her heart, and that the birthmark vanishes amid the triumphant rush of blood that bathed the whole cheek . . . (Hawthorne 11). Thus Georgiana would have been wiser resenting her husbands ambitious intentions of removing the visible mark of earthly imperfection (Hawthorne 11). While her intense love and worship for her husband can never be doubted, her foolish sacrifice, at the same time can not be appreciated.

Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthornes book, The Scarlet Letter, uses physical appearance to mirror a characters physiological or spiritual state. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, whom the reader may remember as having taken a brief part in the scene of Hester Prynnes disgrace, is a complex character. The young minister, whose health had severely suffered, of late, by his too unreserved self-sacrifice to the labors and duties of the pastoral relation. Hawthorne is making the reader aware of Mr. Dimmesdale leaving them to ask themselves why he is getting sick. Is it because he has some hidden guilt or sin?

Dimmesdale is sick because of the nknown truth between him and Hester Prynne, which leads up to Hester Prynnes daughter Pearl, the scarlet vision. Pearl, that wild and flighty little elf, stole, softly towards him, and, taking his hand in the grasp of both her own, laid her cheek against it; a caress so tender . . . little Pearls unwanted mood of sentiment last no longer; she laughed, and went capering down the hall. Pearl, not known to be kind to anyone except her mother, laid her cheek on Reverend Dimmesdales hand to show there is a connection between Dimmesdale and little Pearl.

Furthermore, old Roger Chillingworth is an important character o the story. Hester Prynne . . . perceived what change had come over his features, – how much uglier they were, – how his dark complexion seemed to have grown duskier, and his figure more misshapen, – since the days she had familiarly known him. Roger Chillingworth is looking to seek out whom Hester had slept with. He loved her and the pain of not knowing who committed this crime with her was eating at his soul and tearing away his physical appearance. There are hints that the author leaves to let us think about each individual character and the hidden meanings behind them.

A Critical Analysis of Hester Prynne

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne was written in 1849. This novel won him much fame and a good reputation as a writer. In writing The Scarlet Letter, Hawethorne was creating a form of fiction he called the psychological romance. A psychological romance is a story that contains all of the conventional trappings of a typical romance, but deeply portrays humans in conflict with themselves. The Scarlet Letter won Hawthorne great critical acclaim, and even today the book remains on the best seller list.

The Scarlet Letter is so popular maybe because generations of readers can interpret it and see subtle meanings that somewhat reflect their own lives. Each of us, has goodness like Hester Prynne, cowardice like Dimmesdale, and even a little evil like Chillingworth. My favorite character in this book was Hester Prynne because even tough she has done wrong, she remains happy, solid, and sane. In the following essay I plan to critically analyze the novel’s protagonist, Hester Prynne. Hester Prynne is a young woman who was sent to the colonies by her husband, who plans to join her later but is presumed lost at sea.

She is a symbol of the aknowledged sinner; a person whose sin has been recognized but has sought repentance. Hester is the public sinner who shows the effect of her punishment on her human nature. She is seen as a fallen woman in the eyes of the village people. Over the seven years of her punishment Hester’s internal struggle with her sin changes from a victim of Puritanical judgement to being a smart woman who is in tune with human nature. When she meets Dimmesdale in the forest in Chapter 18, Hawthorne says, “ The tendency of her fate and fortunes had been to set her free.

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. ” What is most remarkeable about Hester Prynne is her strength of character. Her inner strength and honesty and her compassion to others, even ones that have condemned her is what is brought to the reader’s attention throughout the novel. At the beginning of the novel Hester is described as a radiant beauty, however seven years later her beauty is gone and the beautiful hair that she once had is hidden underneath a cap that she wears.

In Chapter 13, she removes the cap and the letter “A” and she becomes the beautiful person that she was before her punishment. I think that this is symbolic in that when she removes her cap and letter she taking off the harsh structure of Puritan society. When Pearl demands that she put back on her cap and letter “ her beauty, the warnth and richness of her womanhood, departed, like Alexander, 3 fading sunshine; and a gray shadow seemed to fall across her. ” While her punishment does change her physical appearance, it has a deeper impact on her character.

Despite the lonely life that she leads Hester somehow finds an inner strength to defy both the townspeople and the local government. Hester’s strength is apparent also in dealing with her husband, Chillingworth and her lover, Dimmesdale. This source of strength comes from recognizing her sin and dealing with the consequences. She has nothing but the strength of her spirit to sustain her. This inner peace that she has is recognized by the changing attitude of the community when they begin to think of her not as an adulterer but as an angel of goodness. Hester was also honest.

She openly acknowledges her sin and does not try to hide the letter from the townspeople, but wears it with dignity. By recognizing her sin she remains sane, even though her life had been difficult and somewhat bitter. Finally Hester becomes an angel of compassion and mercy who eventually lives out a life as a figure of sensitivity in the community. She becomes known for her charitable deeds by helping the poor and suffering. Her shame in herself by the judgements of others make her respond to other victims of society and of the world. In time the Puritan society sees the letter not as meaning adultery, but as “angel” or “able”.

She being a victim of the harsh society in which she lived made her more sensitive Alexander, 4 to other victims of society. Her sensitivity turns her symbolic meaning from a person whose life was originally sinful and of an evil nature to a woman who is strong and sensitive with a respect for treating people kindly and with respect. In her final years “the scarlet letter ceased to be a stigma which attracted the world’s scorn and bitterness, and became a type of something the world sorrowed over, and looked upon with awe, yet with reverence too.

Since her character is strongly tied to the scarlet letter, Hester represents the public sinner who changes and learns from her own sorrow to understand the humanity of others. Often when people suffer a great loss in their lives or experiences that change their lives they become survivors with an increased understanding and sympathy for the human losses of others. I think that Hester is such a symbol because she triumphed over tragedy. She went against society for the love of a man.

Even though she was wrong in committing adultry the love that she had for Dimmesdale broke through the bonds of her marriage to Chillingworth. In the end, Hester’s strength, honesty, and sensitivity carry her down the pathway of life. While Dimmesdale dies on the scaffold after his confession and Chillingworth dies of his own bitter hatred , she lives on enduring a quiet life in Colonial Boston. The scarlet letter made her what she was and through her suffering she became a stronger person and found peace.

Comparing Nathaniel Hawthorne

An eccentric aging physician, Dr. Heidegger, calls together his old friends and contemporaries to test his waters of the “fountain of youth. ” As the doctor himself sits by to enjoy the show, each of his four aged friends eagerly quaffs more and more of the magic potion, each draught further carrying them backwards into their shared youth. Having grown young, smooth-skinned and agile again, the three men begin to fight for the favors of the fourth compatriot now restored to her former beauty. In the heat of the fracas, they begin to grow tired and within minutes the effect of the “waters” has worn away.

The articipants in the brief respite from old age are devastated by the transience of the experience. Despite Heidegger’s warning that he has learned to appreciate the advantage of age by watching the four of them make themselves fools, they learned no such lesson and resolve to make a pilgrimage to Florida to seek the Fountain. “The Birthmark” A devoted scientist, in a brief step from his laboratory pursuits, marries a beautiful woman with a single physical flaw: a birthmark on her face. Aylmer becomes obsessed with the imperfection and needs to remove it, to be happy with his wife.

The tale evolves around his rogressive frenzy to use his scientific skills to render his bride perfect and the faith of his submissive wife that the union can survive only if he accomplishes his goal. The author tells us that Aylmer “had devoted himself, however, too unreservedly to scientific studies… ” and, in the secrecy of his laboratory he prepares the potion for Georgiana that results in the disappearance of the birthmark and the death of Aylmer’s experimental subject. Comparison “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” and “The Birthmark” can be compared in many aspects.

Nathaniel Hawthorne used many of the same writing techniques in both stories. Both pieces share two common reoccuring themes. Also, the symbols in the story have like meanings. In both “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” and “The Birthmark”, Hawthorne uses the same writing style. In both stories Nathaniel Hawthorne writes as a realist, as opposed to a romancer. In “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” Hawthorne writes about an actual event in history, Ponce de Leon’s search for the Fountain of Youth on the Florida Peninsula.

It does not matter if the Fountain of Youth exists or not it is a “real” legend. Dr Heidegger’s Experiment” is a situation that could have taken place. It is not a fantasy. “The Birthmark” is also a piece that ould have happened. A beautiful woman could certainly be born with a disturbing birthmark on her face. In “The Birthmark” Hawthorne writes about a real situation with real characters. Again in both “Dr Heidegger’s Experiment” and “The Birthmark”, Hawthorne uses a very vague title. For the purpose of “Dr Heidegger’s Experiment”, Hawthorne wants you to ponder on what kind of experiment Heidegger was conducting, psychological or p! ysical.

In the case of “The Birthmark”, Hawthorne wants you to think if the birthmark was what made the main character, Aylmer, kills his wife or if it went beyond just that physical marking. Furthermore, in the pair of stories Hawthorne uses several of the same literary devices, for instance, symbolism. In “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” Along with the same writing techniques, Nathaniel Hawthorne also used two of the same themes in the stories. Hawthorne uses reoccurring themes of his writing in many of his stories.

In both “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” and “The Birthmark” Hawthorne uses, the impossibility of earthly perfection moreover the loss of innocence. In “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” the doctor’s four friends are all in search of earthly perfection. This is why they choose to drink the water from the Fountain of Youth, to become forever young. The friends are made young again by the water, but their youth soon wears away. If it had remained for ever they would have achieved earthly perfection, and that is impossible. In “The Birthmark”, Georgiana is almost a model of earthly perfection except for that horrid birthmark.

Aylmer believes that Georgiana can be that model of perfection and he can get rid of the birthmark. He is successful in getting rid of Georgiana’s birthmark and she is perfect, b! ut dead. Hawthorne is saying that she could not live and be perfect, hence the impossibility of earthly perfection. In “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” the theme of the loss of innocence is loosely addressed. Dr. Heidegger says: “Think what a sin and shame it would be, if, with your peculiar advantages, you should not become patterns of virtue and wisdom to all the young people of the age! Heidegger tells his friends that they have already lost their innocence and gained wisdom in their old age, and what a thing it would be if they could have that wisdom and be youthful at the same time.

Yet, when the friends return to their youth the friends are innocent, naive, and even foolish beings. In “The Birthmark” Georgiana is ompletely innocent with her birthmark, which represents her innocence. When Aylmer removes the birthmark, not only has her innocence been taken but also her life. Similarly as Hawthorne used like writing techniques and themes in both “Dr.

Heidegger’s Experiment” and “The Birthmark”, he also used symbols to represent the same ideas. In “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” Hawthorne uses Dr Heidegger’s friends to represent flawed beings. Their flaw is their age. In “The Birthmark”, Hawthorne uses the birthmark to symbolize a flaw on a perfect being as well. In this case it is Georgiana. In both stories that was an object that represented the right” thing to do. In the case of “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” the symbol of write and wrong was the near dead butterfly who was brought back to life by the spilt water of youth.

The butterfly is traditionally a symbol of metamorphosis, and it makes you wonder is if is right to change the natural metamorphic of a person’s life. In “The Birthmark”, Aminidad, Aylmer’s assistant symbolizes the right choice. He is aware that the potion that will remove Georgiana’s birthmark will also kill her. Amini! dad does not speak to Aylmer about this because he “has no right” being only Aylmer’s assistant. The last of the symbols that connect “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” and “The Birthmark” are the Water of Youth and Aylmer’s potion.

In “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” the water from the Fountain of Youth symbolizes a disturbance of nature. It is natural for a person to age and the potion defies nature’s law if age. In “The Birthmark” the potion also symbolizes a disturbance of natural. Georgiana’s birthmark was natural, and when Aylmer removed it with the potion, nature was again defied. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s two writings, “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” and “The Birthmark” contain many parallels. These, like other Hawthorne stories share many of the same themes and morals.

Hawthorne had his own obsessions that included a horrified fascination with “cold philosophy. ” He approached the romantic notion of the ability of science to destroy nature as fictive “horror stories” of biological research out of control. He embodied this concern in his several characterizations of scientists, who were also physicians, working in isolation in their laboratories to gain intellectual control over the mysteries of nature. Although the notion of amoral, or immoral, experimentation is dated in these period pieces, the concerns remain ethical problems in the modern world of medicine.

“The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Although “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne was written in the mid-1800s, its themes and ideas are still a part of society today. The 19th century was a time of change, just as this, the millennium, is a time of great change. Hawthorne’s ideas about science, beauty, and life still play a major part in our lives, despite many improvements. Even today, people try to play “God” and change things that nature has put in place. It’s human curiosity; how much can be changed, how many things can be perfected?

The themes in this short story– religion, gender, and science–were relevant in Hawthorne’s day, and still are many years later. The theme of religion is hidden in the desire to erase the birthmark. In trying to “perfect” Georgiana, Aylmer is testing God’s creation. He doesn’t believe that how God created Georgiana is perfect, and he is obsessive about making her his idea of perfection. Aminadab, Aylmer’s servant, tries to tell his master to leave the birthmark alone. He tells Aylmer that if Georgiana were his wife, he wouldn’t worry about something so trivial.

However, the scientific ideas on Aylmer’s mind won’t let him forget the birthmark. He believes he can remove it with the help of science. Even so, science has no part in creation, according to Hawthorne, and Georgiana’s death after the removal of the birthmark signifies that theory. Her death is Hawthorne’s way of showing that judgment and perfection are God’s duties–not man’s. In today’s society we still battle this idea; is perfection attainable through science? Maybe people think sothousands have cosmetic surgery performed every year as a way of trying to make themselves more beautiful.

Religion has taken a step back in society today, so the significance of perfection by God has also been moved to the back burner. But, underlying all the surgeries performed today, is the question: Is it right to change what was given to you by God? Perhaps, but it is not without consequence. Many cosmetic surgeries require painful recovery time or follow-ups, and even some may be dangerous to one’s health. Hawthorne’s gender bias reflects his times, naturally, but they are slightly exaggerated in this story. Georgiana is a rational woman, but Aylmer won’t listen to her.

She is a woman and, therefore, is not supposed to have anything to contribute. She agrees to all the attempts to remove her birthmark because she is submissive and can’t bring herself to tell her husband “no. ” A “good” wife wouldn’t question her husband’s motives, so she allows him to perform tests and administer concoctions. Even at the moment of her death, as her birthmark is removed, she shows some happiness at pleasing her husband. Georgiana’s worst fear is an unhappy marriage, and she would much rather die than have Aylmer look at her with disgust.

Gender bias today is not as strong as it once was but it still exists. For some women, there is still that desire to be submissive and please men. Many women have overcome this, but there remains a gender bias in the workplace, politics, athletics and many other areas. With time, hopefully, people will come to realize that women are indeed equal to men, and deserve to be treated the same. The scientific theme in “The Birthmark” is obvious from the start. Aylmer’s obsession is rooted in science. The dilemma is responsibility vs. possibility.

There is a possibility that the birthmark can be removed, but it is the responsibility of Aylmer, as a husband and a scientist, to make sure that it won’t harm Georgiana. Aylmer forgets his responsibility and loses Georgiana because of it. Scientific knowledge is indeed power, but Hawthorne seeks to remind us that with power comes a need for control and self-restraint. Scientific discoveries and the responsibilities behind them still plague us today. One well-known example is the cloning of Dolly the sheep. While scientists saw this as a wonderful medical advancement, average people feared the next object to be cloned.

Human beings are comforted with the idea that they know everything, and when a new theory is introduced they tend to separate into two groups: those who want to encourage change and advancement, and those who are afraid of what it will mean for their life, and shy away from that potential change. We’re much the same today as we were in Hawthorne’s time. We insist on questioning everything in our lives. We often lose sight of our beliefs and religion, and we still have trouble agreeing that both genders are equal.

Also, the desire to play God is something that is almost instinctual in human beings. We enjoy challenging modern advances and seeing if we can make things better, faster, smaller, less expensive, etc. Hawthorne’s story is, in a way, the equivalent of a billboard along the highway. It asks you to stop and consider what is happening, changing, and if responsibility is being taken. Much like in the 1800s, people today are coming up with new and amazing devices. There will always be a fear of the unknown and science is the greatest unknown of all.

The Influence of Society on the Young Goodman Brown

Nathaniel Hawthornes Young Goodman Brown illustrates vividly how society and culture can very much influence a persons sense of identity and belonging, or in the case of Young Goodman Brown the lack thereof. Being a Puritan man in a society that scorned the ways of witches and the devil, Young Goodman Brown grew up with a very pious outlook on life. Yet when it occurs to him to look at life a little bit differently, Young Goodman Brown receives more than he has bargained for. The journey he embarks on sheds a whole new light on his society that not only creates a struggle between himself and his fellow men but also one within himself.

From the beginning of Hawthornes story a test of faith prevails. From the moment that Young Goodman Brown parts with his wife, Faith, to when they meet again at the heart of the forest, the very manner Young Goodman Brown has been taught his entire life is at stake. Yet it is not so much Goodman Browns faith in God that is the concern but whether or not Goodman Brown feels he can trust anyone or anything he has ever come to know and believe in. Society has preconditioned him to think a certain way, thus through this journey Young Goodman Brown cannot deal with the new Puritan life he witnesses.

Since he is unsure of what his society is truly like Goodman Brown is now incapable of knowing his place in society and knowing whom he really is. In an article entitled Cultural Fate and Social Freedom in Three American Stories Walter Shear discusses how Young Goodman Brown swings out of time, paradoxically and almost deliriously senses his power, and then moves abruptly back to contemplate his cultural fate. It is up to Goodman Brown if, upon his return to his home, he will live with a resigned contentment at his place in the world or with an irreconcilable bitterness at his powerlessness (548).

Young Goodman Brown goes into the forest at first with only a small expectation of what he is going to experience. Of his fellow Puritan society he sees the bad seeds as well as supposed men and women of the utmost regard. He sees virgin girls filled with reverence and innocence, and even members of the church present at the devils ceremony. This causes Young Goodman Brown to question his entire upbringing and trust in his society. It creates a doubt about others and even him. At first Goodman Brown is able to justify embarking on such a journey by looking to a blessed future.

But when he sees that others have made this journey before him, Young Goodman Brown starts to feel somehow lied to. Now aware of the guilty purpose that had brought him thither Young Goodman Brown feels betrayed by this Puritan society. He even tries to go back to his wife, to his home, to his faith, to how things used to be three times before he actually returns from what he called an errand. At the start of his trip it never occurs to Goodman Brown that his fellow men are sinners and that he may meet them along the way.

There may be a devilish Indian behind every tree (184) is all he suspects at first. Therefore, when he begins to spot them one after another he begins to lose his mind. How could these people, so full of piety, be worshipping the ways of the devil? Is that not the same woman who taught him his catechism? Is that not the minister and the Deacon in whose words the people place so much trust and faith? Each person he meets lures him deeper into the realms of the forest and confuses him so much that he forgets he is trying to leave the place.

There is a mysterious aura around the area that places Young Goodman Brown in a trance where, despite the presence of faith, he unconsciously continues walking. He even stays when Goody Close screams The Devil (187) as the dark figure touches her with his staff. Society has only shown Goodman Brown of the religious way of life so that now this sinning dumbfounds him. Young Goodman Brown does indeed try to resist the dark figure and go home until he thinks he hears his wife Faith in the woods.

Although the trip through the forest is the turning point in the life of Young Goodman Brown, this point in the forest is the turning point of his journey. He was able to at least blindly acknowledge the new side to Goody Close, and the minister and the Deacon, but with the sight of her pink ribbon after one stupefied moment Young Goodman Brown cried my Faith is gone (190). On the outside he believes his wife too has fallen into the trap of the devil yet on the inside he has lost his own faith. There is no good on earthcome, devil; for to thee is this world given (190).

To Goodman Brown his world is now over and with his faith in the world, in his society gone he succumbs to the evilness of the forest. This madness that Young Goodman Brown experiences escalates further more the psychological struggle he is having. What he learns in this forest changes him so much that he cannot look at anything without judging it in the manner of his experience. As Walter Shear puts it, he underestimates the power of time, failing to see the degree to which he hasmade himself a particular kind of individual, (and) ultimately the prisoner of his own psychological prisoner (Shear, 545).

Young Goodman Brown came into the journey somewhat aware of what he would see in terms of the presence of evil but did not believe that one night of this evil could change his life forever. Due to the strict Puritan society he was used to, Young Goodman Brown underestimated the power that this journey would hold and therefore he becomes a victim of his own journey and paranoia. He is now in a different world. In this different world, such extraordinary things are exposed to Young Goodman Browns mind that reality and fantasy start to blur into one and the world he now sees is very distant from the one he has left.

Yet in the midst of the horrid ceremony in the heart of the forest Young Goodman Brown once again calls for his wife Faith and as hope came into his heart, he trembled (191). This call for Faith and in essence for faith allows him to not succumb but to resist the mock baptism by the dark figure. Yet it is only in vain for even when hope enters his heart he trembles for what he has seen cannot be forgotten. Young Goodman Brown is the victim of an altered relationship to both God and nature (Shear, 545) and also that with his society.

This relationship is altered so much so that what he experiences is the revenge of the id upon the egofor the latters social acquiescence (Shear, 545). So much reliance Young Goodman Brown has placed on his society that now with this new state of mind he cannot find his place in society nor does he know who anyone really is. This doubtfulness truly reveals itself upon Young Goodman Browns return home. Even if it all really was just a dream, Brown cannot help but to judge everyone according to what he has witnessed the night before.

Even his own Faith he cannot kiss again for even though he is back with his Faith, he never regains the faith he has had in his society and their beliefs. Every good word he hears is replaced by the evil ones that haunt him from that journey so that now he does not know who is good nor what is good anymore. Young Goodman Brown could have chosen not to go into the forest. But he did therefore choosing to chance the event of seeing something he might never would have wanted to see. But now it is too late and poor Young Goodman Brown has become a prisoner of his own mind for he is unsure of what is real anymore.

Even on the day he died he was filled with gloom. The story of Young Goodman Brown presents a struggle with the clash of Goodman Browns cultural fate of being a Puritan and his mind that is exposed to unholy acts. He goes from a prisoner of only what his society has shown him to a prisoner of the fate to live in it even after he learns its potential evilness. By not succumbing to the sinfulness of his journey, Young Goodman Brown in turn succumbs to the struggle within his mind. He is trapped by taunting thoughts and allows his life to be guided by the confusion that has caused him to forever question reality.

Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a compelling story which explores the inner emotions of the human mind, spirit, and the heart. Set around the 1640s in a Boston Puritan society, it focuses on the moral issue revolving around the virtue of truth and the evil of secret sin. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, a man of profound knowledge of religion and a true devotee of God, commits a crime of passion with the young and married Hester Prynne. The Puritan society, which barely tolerates any sin, seeks out Hester Prynne and punishes her by making her wear the scarlet letter “A”.

Even though, Arthur Dimmesdale escapes punishment from the Puritan society, he endures an excruciating amount of pain that he brings forth onto himself. Due to the weakness in Dimmesdale’s character and the guilt that comes from within, he is forced to carry the tremendous weight of concealing his sin on his soul and heart. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale lives in a world of hypocrisy which is brought on by the strong sense of guilt he feels that’s a burden on his soul. As a minister, Dimmesdale is believed to be absolutely pure who follows his own teachings.

People think, ” The young divine. . . was considered by his more fervent admirers as little less that heavenly and ordained apostle. . . ” (119), about the clergyman. However, Dimmesdale being a hypocrite, urges his congregations to confess their sins openly and then himself refrains from doing the same. He is afraid of what the society’s reactions could be towards him and he would be released from his duties to God. Once, Dimmesdale directly tells Hester to confess at the scaffold.

He says, ” ‘ . . . Be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him; for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, that to hide a guilty heart through life ‘ ” (73). Dimmesdale preaches that a person is righteous in admitting their crime rather than carrying the guilt around for the rest of his life. Being unprincipled, Dimmesdale does the exact opposite of his own advice. As a minister of the Puritan church, Dimmesdale holds a very high position in society where everyone looks up to him as a role model.

He feels very guilty in his heart knowing that he has committed a sin. People identify him as a guiltless and holy man. When people have that kind of a view for him, Dimmesdale feels even more pressured and sinful. He yearns to speak out the truth to make people abandon his false image of a perfectionist. Dimmesdale wants to say, ” ‘. . . -I whose footsteps, as you suppose, leave a gleam along my earthy track, . . . I, -who have laid the hand of baptism upon your children, . . . -I, your pastor, whom you so reverence and trust, am utterly a pollution and lie! (140).

Constantly, Dimmesdale is punishing himself by allowing such feelings of torment deteriorate him emotionally. He believes he has an enormous responsibility to God and his followers. By concealing the truth from his followers, Dimmesdale feels he’s deceiving God. Just as he feels sinful about living as a hypocrite, he senses pain when he realizes how much Hester and Pearl have endured. Unable to carry on the responsibility of being a caring father and a beloved husband, Arthur Dimmesdale feels guilty.

This sense of guilt consumes him, furthermore, increasing his anguish when he sees Hester suffering alone for the crime they both perpetrate. The first time Dimmesdale gets up on the scaffold with the rest of his family, he says to Hester, ” ‘ Ye have both been here before, but I was not with you. . . ‘ “(148). Dimmesdale wants Hester to know that he realizes how hard it’s been for her to go through the humiliation and suffering. At the moment, he decides to share Hester’s repentance by standing next to her.

Pearl, too, stands on the scaffold with them. Dimmesdales feels a lot of love for his daughter. When Pearl is about to meet Dimmesdale, he says, ” ‘ . . . how my heart dreads this interview, and yearns for it!. . . Yet Pearl, twice in her little lifetime hath been kind to me! . . . ” (196). He’s scared that what if Pearl doesn’t expect him as her father and at the same time he feels excited to meet her. The reader can see how it must have been hard for Dimmesdale to deny Pearl as his daughter in the village just so he can keep his sin secret.

He is unable to accept his family in front of the Puritans because of Dimmesdale’s guilt of not complying of being their role model. To keep his sin disguised and not being able to admit his guilt , he afflicts himself with wounds during which he witnesses hallucinations. He sees, “. . . through the chamber which these spectral thoughts had made so ghastly, glided Hester Prynne, leading along little Pearl in her scarlet garb and pointing her forefinger, first at the scarlet letter on her bosom, and then at the clergyman’s own breast”(142).

This quote shows how he feels he did injustice towards his family for letting them suffer alone. Dimmesdale thinks that Pearl blames him for the unusual childhood she has due to the crime. His soul, even after carrying so much guilt, conveys a tragic flaw as well. Another force that puts Dimmesdale through unnecessary anguish is his weakness of not acknowledging publicly that he committed a sin. He aspires to become a perfectionist but ends up having poor will power. Throughout the novel, the reader sees the minister trying to justify his crime through excuses.

From the beginning, Dimmesdale knows there is only one way to pay penance which is admitting his guilt. At first, he indirectly suggests an explanation for his secret sin. Dimmesdale tell Chillingworth, ” ‘ . . . they are kept silent by the very constitution of their nature. Or- can we not suppose it? -guilty as they may be, retaining, nevertheless, a zeal for God’s glory and man’s welfare, they shrink from displaying themselves black and filthy in the view of men; because . . . no good can be achieved by them; no evil of the past be redeemed by better service.

So to their own unutterable torment, they go about among their fellow-creatures looking pure . . . while their hearts are speckled and spotted. . . ‘ ” (130). Dimmesdale wants to justify his action by saying that if man commits a sin, then he will be punished by God only. He’s trying to say that what’s the use of being looked at by lower standards through the eyes of human beings when God will discipline the person harshly anyway. One of the other reasons is that he believes it’s in good faith to continue to do God’s work even when he isn’t following on the path of God.

Dimmesdale despises himself for his inability to confess and he even inflicts many body injuries. Rev. Dimmesdale apprehends the fact that he has to admit his crime before the world. He says to Hester, ” ‘ . . . Else I should long ago have thrown off their garments of mock holiness and have shown myself to mankind as they will see me at the judgment seat. Happy are you, Hester, that wear the scarlet letter openly upon your bosom! Mine burns in secret! Thou little knowest what a relief, after the torment of a seven years’ cheat, to look into an eye that recognizes me for what I am! . ‘ ” (183).

When Reverend Dimmesdale finally decides to admit he had committed a sin of adultery in front of the whole Puritan village, he still needs strength from Hester to carry him up to the scaffold. Pearl is also right by Dimmesdale holding his hand. To overcome his weakness, Dimmesdale uses the support of his family, Hester and Pearl, very successfully. Reverend Dimmesdale’s weakness in character and the load of guiltiness he feels is the cause of hiding his crime from the society.

Due to the constant struggles within himself, Dimmesdale is finally able admit his sin and die a peaceful death on the scaffold where the whole ordeal had began. Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays Dimmesdale as a frail human being who is able to overcome a lot of agony with the strength of truth. The clergyman’s life and death leaves us an important moral to remember: ” Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred! ” (242).

Hawthorne’s Imagery Essay

Imagery is used in stories to refer to the ways writers compose mental images in writing. Imagery meets all of the readers senses such as hearing, touch, taste, smell, and even movement. As the audience, most of our response to a literary work depends on the way in which we interpret and identify with the works imagery. Imagery engages the readers imagination, thereby aiding in identification with the experience through description or metaphorically through comparisons. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses nature imagery within his literary works to tell his story.

Hawthorne gives his readers mental pictures of nature throughout his works. In the story, The May Pole of Merry Mount, Hawthorne gives a mental picture of the may pole and relates it to a figment of nature … from its top streamed a silken banner, colored like a rainbow. Down nearly to the ground… (Hawthorne). The way in which Hawthorne correlates the ribbons of the may-pole to a rainbow gives his audience a realistic image of nature to help visualize the scene.

In the short story titled The Birthmark, Hawthorne defines the beauty of nature as being absolutely perfect … u came so nearly perfect from the hand of Nature, that this slightest possible defect-which we hesitate to term a defect or a beauty, shocks me as being the visible mark of earthly imperfection ( Hawthorne). Throughout Hawthornes stories, the evidence of nature imagery takes effect to touch all the senses.

Hawthorne was a writer in the Romantic Era, and was then consequently influenced by nature. The imagery that he uses to view nature and to compare nature to different aspects of his stories helps the audience to obtain a mental image. Throughout his stories, nature imagery is always intertwined to help view a certain aspect.

Nathaniel Hawthorne – American novelist

Nathaniel Hawthorne (July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864) was a 19th century American novelist and short story writer. He was born in Salem, Massachusetts and died in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Hawthorne’s father was a sea captain and descendant of John Hathorne, one of the judges who oversaw the Salem Witch Trials. Hawthorne’s father died at sea in 1808, when Hawthorne was only four years old, and Nathaniel was raised secluded from the world by his mother. Hawthorne attended Bowdoin College in Maine from 1821-1824 where he became friends with Longfellow and future president Franklin Pierce.

In 1842, he married illustrator and transcendentalist Sophia Peabody, and the two moved to The Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts, where they lived for three years. Later they moved to The Wayside, previously a home of the Alcotts. Their neighbors in Concord included Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Like Hawthorne, Sophia was a reclusive person. She was, in fact, bedridden with headaches until her sister introduced her to Hawthorne, after which her headaches seem to have abated.

The Hawthornes enjoyed a long marriage, and Sophia was greatly enamored with her husband’s work. In one of her journals, she writes: “I am always so dazzled and bewildered with the richness, the depth, the… jewels of beauty in his productions that I am always looking forward to a second reading where I can ponder and muse and fully take in the miraculous wealth of thoughts” (Jan 14th 1951, Journal of Sophia Hawthorne. Berg Collection NY Public Library). The two had three children: Una, Julian, and Rose. Una suffered from mental illness and died young.

Julian moved out west and wrote a book about his father. Rose converted to Roman Catholicism and took her vows as a Dominican nun. She founded a religious order to care for victims of cancer. Hawthorne died on May 19, 1864 in Plymouth, N. H. on a trip to the mountains with his friend Franklin Pierce. Hawthorne is best-known today for his many short stories (he called them “tales”) and his four major romances of 1850-60: The Scarlet Letter (1850), The House of the Seven Gables (1851), The Blithedale Romance (1852), and The Marble Faun (1860).

Another book-length romance, Fanshawe, was published anonymously in 1828. ) Before publishing his first collection of tales in 1837, Hawthorne wrote scores of short stories and sketches, publishing them anonymously or pseudonymously in periodicals such as The New-England Magazine and The United States Democratic Review. Only after collecting a number of his short stories into the two-volume Twice-Told Tales in 1837 did Hawthorne begin to attach his name to his works.

Much of Hawthorne’s work is set in colonial New England, and many of his short stories have been read as moral allegories influenced by his Puritan background. “Ethan Brand” (1850) tells the story of a lime-burner who sets off to find the Unpardonable Sin, and in doing so, commits it. One of Hawthorne’s most famous tales, “The Birth-Mark” (1843), concerns a young doctor who removes a birthmark from his wife’s face, an operation which kills her.

Other well-known tales include “Rappaccini’s Daughter” (1844), “My Kinsman, Major Molineux” (1832), “The Minister’s Black Veil” (1836), and “Young Goodman Brown” (1835). “The Maypole of Merrymount” recounts a most interesting encounter between the Puritans and the forces of anarchy and hedonism. Recent criticism has focused on Hawthorne’s narrative voice, treating it as a self-conscious rhetorical construction, not to be conflated with Hawthorne’s own voice. Such an approach complicates the long-dominant tradition of regarding Hawthorne as a gloomy, guilt-ridden moralist.

Hawthorne enjoyed a brief friendship with American novelist Herman Melville beginning on August 5, 1850, when the two authors met at a picnic hosted by a mutual friend. Melville had just read Hawthorne’s short story collection Mosses from an Old Manse, which Melville later praised in a famous review, “Hawthorne and His Mosses. ” Melville’s letters to Hawthorne provide insight into the composition of Moby-Dick. Hawthorne’s letters to Melville did not survive.

The Scarlett Letter and Moby Dick

Two distinguished authors, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, were the only two anti-transcendentalist novelists. They focussed their novels on limitations and the potential destructiveness of the human spirit rather than on its possibilities (The American Experience 301). Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and Melville’s Moby Dick, are tales of sin, guilt, obsession and destruction. From out of both of these anti-transcendentalist novels, various similarities arise between the characters. Mainly, Chillingworth from The Scarlet Letter and Captain Ahab from Moby Dick, stand out as the most related, prominent characters of the novels. Both Chillingworth and Captain Ahab are portrayed the same way in their respective novels and perform similar actions, which lead to their ultimate destruction.

In the areas of the meanings of their names, their corresponding authors’ descriptions, and their character type, Chillingworth and Captain Ahab are alike. The names of these two characters are appropriate to their characters. Roger Chillingworth’s name seems to be from the word chill, a synonym for fear and coldness of the heart. Chillingworth makes it a point to instill fear within Reverend Dimmsdale. He is notorious by Hester for having a cold heart. “What does Chillingworth want from Dimmsdale? Revenge…exposure and public humiliation” (Neilson 274).

Indeed, Captain Ahab’s name seems to come from biblical times. King Ahab of Israel was an evil man, who spent his time at war with neighboring countries. In Moby Dick, he is at war with the whale as well as other shipmates. He declares, “What do we do when we see a whale?…Lower Away, and after him!” (Melville 321). These two men, strategically modeled after their names, take on the role of the villain in their own worlds. The severity of both their characters is shown throughout each of the two novels. In The Scarlet Letter, Chillingworth, force Hester to reveal the man that she sinned with. He uses his authoritarian nature to instill fear within her. “Thou wilt not reveal his name? Not the less he is mine…” (Hawthorne 73).

He promises to avenge the man who wronged him by sleeping with his wife. Throughout the rest of the novel, Chillingworth aims to destroy Arthur Dimmsdale, the man who slept with his wife. Similarly, in Moby Dick, Melville uses Captain Ahab as the evil character. When Ahab encounters another ship that says that they have seen Moby Dick, they immediately take off. He is also asked to help find the other Captain’s son who is lost at sea, but is determined to catch Moby Dick, so he turns the other captain down (Great Books, MD). This shows Captain Ahab’s cruelty to other human beings as well as his evil nature. Additionally, the descriptions of these two men are similar. In Moby Dick, Melville describes Captain Ahab as an evil harmful, destructive looking man. He has an made completely from ivory, and a cruel severe, domineering face (Great Books, MD).

Similarly, in The Scarlet Letter, Chillingworth is portrayed given bitter face, which instills fear in all around him. “A withering horror twisted itself across his features, like a snake gliding swiftly over them, and…all its wreathes intervolutions in open sight” (Hawthorne 58). Altogether, Chillingworth and Captain Ahab are created as similar characters. The villainous characterization of these characters are parallel to their names, and their features reflect that personality.

These two characters interact with other characters similarly, become obsessed with revenge and are eventually destroyed. In Moby Dick, Melville describes how other characters doubt him and his ways. Starbuck, a shipmate, states, “Vengeance on a dumb brute!…To be enraged at a dumb thing…seems blasphemous” (Hawthorne 324). Others including Ishmael were afraid, they could not comprehend that an obsession could be so powerful, it could take over a person’s life. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne, Chillingworth’s wife speaks to him about how he used to be a sensitive man, and now, he has turned into a fiend. She is afraid for her lover Dimmsdale, as well as her and Pearl’s lives, because this man could do something irrational (Great Books, SL).

Coincidentally, both the two characters become obsessed with revenge. In the Scarlet Letter, Chillingworth sets his life goal to find and the man who committed adultery. Once he finds him, Chillingworth tries to make Dimmsdale’s life a living hell. Hawthorne writes, He now dug into the poor clergyman’s heart like a miner searching for gold; or, rather, like a sexton delving into a grave…” (Hawthorne 125). Likewise, Captain Ahab, become obsessed with killing Moby Dick. Ahab believes that the whale is evil and must be stopped. He declares, “That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and…I will wreak that hate upon him” (Melville 324).

Consequently, the two obsessions of the two men eventually lead to their ultimate destruction. Chillingworth devotes his entire life to finding out and torturing the man who wronged him. When Dimmsdale, the adulterer, confesses and dies, Chillingworth has no purpose for life after this event. “This unhappy man had made the very principle of his life to consist in the pursuit…of revenge… and when left with no further material, had no reason to stay on the earth to do the devil’s work” (Hawthorne 255). Similarly, Ahab get so involved in the pursuit of the whale, his safety is overlooked. He gets caught on a harpoon line and pulled under and above the water. This man’s reason for living was eventually the cause of his death (Great Books, MD).

Overall, the characters that interact with each of these two men have to same response towards each of their obsessions. These obsessions, the sole purpose for their living was in the end the source of final destruction.

Based on the way the characters were created, and their actions and interaction with other people, the characters Roger Chillingworth, and Captain Ahab are similar. The two men have names built surrounding their evil nature and their physical description. Moreover, the way other characters interact with them, is similar. Others do not understand why they are so obsessed.

This obsession for revenge, in both characters, lead to each of their final destruction. It is a great mystery how why the two novels are so closely related and have similar characters. Perhaps the two authors shared a special friendship in which they both emulated each other’s writing. How ever this may have happened, these two novels were quite possibly the greatst pieces of literature of their time.

The House of the Seven Gables: The Dark Side of Hawthorne

In The House of the Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne exhibits the fate of a family due to a curse by analyzing the most “disagreeable” secrets of a man’s soul (Great Lives 1077). Hawthorne shows the decay of an aristocratic family due to the sins of the past. He uses allegory within his character’s personalities and emotions to expose “the truth of the human heart” (biography). Hawthorne’s chosen location for this novel reflects greatly on his life and specifically his childhood.

Salem is the home of The House of the Seven Gables. Ironically this is the same town in which he was born in and lived in through adulthood. He was raised in this town, therefore he was very aware of the dark side of its past. He was a part of this past through his ancestors. One of which was a judge in the infamous Salem witch trials. At this trial Hawthorne’s uncle is cursed by a so-called witch with the words, “God will give you blood to drink” (Magill 2736). This curse is much similar to Matthew Maule’s curse on the Pyncheon family (Magill 2734).

The solitude of his characters reflects his childhood as well. Growing up, his mother kept herself away from people which led him to become a very solitary man for much of his life. As a young child Hawthorne was lamed. During these years he became well learned with the writings of Edmund Spenser, John Bunyan, and William Shakespear(CSLF 1570). From these men he has Having lived in Salem most of his life, Hawthorne is extremely influenced by Puritanism. His writings greatly reflect this. Hawthorne deals much with the sins of a man being pasted down for generations. This is very much a Puritan belief. Puritans are a very superstitious type of person. Thus, this explains Hawthorne’s belief that a curse, such as Maule’s curse, can destroy a well-to-do family (Walker 1577).

Hawthorne’s characters dealt with guilt forced on by their ancestor, much of which goes back as far as the Puritans. He commonly plays guilt against innocence within one character, Hepzibah Pyncheon. She feels strongly that she must maintain the lifestyle and tradition of her ancestor Colonel Pyncheon. He shows her many personalities as a demonstration of the “secret motivations” of the heart (biography). Hepzibah is chained to the curse by her Puritan ancestors therefore her efforts to escape are often doomed. When she no longer has the money to fight the destruction of her blood line she turns to the shop of the past for survival.

The style with which Hawthorne portrays this character among others is very superstitious, and they deal much with the evil side of a human being. He often uses a man’s battle with sin and the devil as a source of controversy (Great Lives 1077). The Puritan background instilled in him the reality of the devil and the evil of sinning. In characters such as Hepzibah he uses evil and pain as a game (Encyclopedia of World Biography 214). She spends her life trying to escape from the dreaded Maule’s curse which makes her suffer in the isolation she has received as a punishment. Hawthorne emphasizes the imperfection of man often (Encyclopedia of World Biography).

None of his character are completely good. They all have evil thoughts at one time or another. His characters must deal with the dividing line between what is real and what is imaginary (Great Lives 1077). He focuses on the point that the “truth of the human heart” cannot be found by any earthly source. Thus, Hepzibah’s changing personalities display this question of whom a person really is. Are they good or evil? Are their actions black or white? This leads into Hawthorne’s Transcendentalist beliefs. In the time Hawthorne is writing a movement known as transcendentalism was affecting literature and art. Hawthorne is known as a dark transcendentalist because he focuses strongly on the dark and sinful side of human kind. In The House of the Seven Gables, he focuses on the self- examination of character which is a significant idea in transcendentalism (Encarta Encyclopedia).

He believes a human cannot reach the insights of transcendentalism by mere sensual experience. They must reach a new level of understanding. This is similar to Hepzibah inability to understand Clifford reason and state of mind. He has been alone many years away from daily sin and the darkness of the evil within the house. It also relates to Hepzibah’s inability to understand her emotion until Phoebe comes into the picture. Phoebe helps her to see the light and that not everything is dark and gloomy. However, Hepzibah still has to fight a battle with the side of her that wants to remain hidden and entrapped by the curse of Old Maule. Transcendentalists speak of the “divine and supernatural light” (gonzaga 1).

The House of the Seven Gables is haunted with the supernatural and it takes a higher understanding to break the chains of the curse, Hawthorne places the light against the dark with Hepzibah the dark, and Phoebe the light. Hepzibah’s darkness always out powers Phoebe’s happiness without intension. The darkness signifies the imperfection of man that transcendentalists Hawthorne’s feelings on life alone create the base of misfortune whether by curse or desire. His writing is often allegorical and moralistic when dealing with the life of his characters. They fight moral issues, many dealing with the loss and possession of money. His characters live a very isolated life much like his own.

In The House of the Seven Gables loneliness is the punishment Hepzibah pays for the sin of the Colonel. The pain in the character’s lives comes from this isolation, however when they try to live among the people they retreat back into their holes. (WLC 1597). Hawthorne was identical to this until he met his wife Sophia. His characters’ pride is the source of their evil. They fight to hold the lives they lead without the consideration to modern times. Their lives come into moral Hawthorne’s transcendentalist views of humanity and his belief in the devil result in the evil side to his characters. The curse put upon them from generations back plagues them in modern time due to their refusal to move on. Their personalities portray “the truth of the human heart”

Biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1804 into an old Puritan family. Hawthorne graduated from Bowdoin College in 1825. He thereafter returned to his Salem home, living in semi-seclusion and writing. His work received little public recognition, however, and Hawthorne attempted to destroy all copies of his first novel, Fanshawe, which he had published at his own expense in 1828. During this period he also contributed articles and short stories to various periodicals. Several of the stories were published in Twice-Told Tales in 1837, which, although not a financial success, established Hawthorne as a leading writer.

These early works are largely historical sketches and symbolic and allegorical tales dealing with moral conflicts and the effects of Puritanism on colonial New England. Because Hawthorne was unable to earn a living by literary work, in 1839 Hawthorne took a job as weigher in the Boston, Massachusetts, customhouse. Two years later he returned to writing and produced a series of sketches of New England history for children, Grandfather’s Chair: A History for Youth, which was published in 1841.

The same year he joined the communal society at Brook Farm near Boston, hoping to be able to live in such comfort that he could marry and still have time to devote to his writing. The demands of the farm were too great, however, and Hawthorne was unable to continue his writing while doing farm chores, and after six months he withdrew from the community. In 1842 he married Sophia Amelia Peabody of Salem and settled in Concord, Massachusetts, in a house called the Old Manse. During the four years he lived in Concord, Hawthorne wrote a number of tales that were later published as Mosses from an Old Manse, published in 1846.

They include Roger Malvin’s Burial, Rappaccini’s Daughter, and Young Goodman Brown, tales in which Hawthorne’s preoccupation with the effects of pride, guilt, sin, and secrecy are combined with a continued emphasis on symbolism and allegory. His literary works are deeply concerned with the problems of ethics, of sin, and punishment. Hawthorne’s exploration of these themes was related to the sense of guilt he felt about the roles of his ancestors in the 17th-century persecution of Quakers and in the 1692 witchcraft trials of Salem, Massachusetts.

To survive, Hawthorne returned to government service in 1846 as surveyor of the Salem customhouse. In 1849 he was dismissed because of a change in political administration. By then he had already begun writing The Scarlet Letter, published in 1850, a novel about the adulterous Puritan Hester Prynne, who loyally refuses to reveal the name of her partner. Regarded as his masterpiece and as one of the classics of American literature, The Scarlet Letter reveals both Hawthorne’s superb craftsmanship and the powerful psychological insight with which he probed guilt and anxiety in the human soul.

In 1850 Hawthorne moved to Lenox, Massachusetts, where he enjoyed the friendship of the novelist Herman Melville, an admirer of Hawthorne’s work. At Lenox, Hawthorne wrote The House of the Seven Gables, in which he traced the decadence of Puritanism in an old New England family, A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys, and Tanglewood Tales for Girls and Boys, which retold classical legends. During a short stay in West Newton, Massachusetts, he produced The Snow-Image and Other Twice-Told Tales, which show his continuing preoccupation with the themes of guilt and pride, and The Blithedale Romance, a novel inspired by his life at Brook Farm.

In 1852 Hawthorne returned to Concord, where he wrote a campaign biography of his college friend Franklin Pierce. After Pierce’s election to the United States presidency, he rewarded Hawthorne with the consulship at Liverpool, England, a post Hawthorne held until 1857. In 1858 and 1859 Hawthorne lived in Italy, collecting material for his heavily symbolic novel The Marble Faun. In 1860, on the eve of the American Civil War, Hawthorne returned to the United States.

His political isolation is indicated in his dedication of Our Old Home to Pierce, who had become highly unpopular because of his support of the Southern slave owners. Hawthorne’s posthumously published works include the unfinished novels Septimius Felton, The Dolliver Romance, Dr. Grimshawe’s Secret, and The Ancestral Footsteps and his American Notebooks, English Notebooks, and French and Italian Notebooks. With modern psychological insight Hawthorne probed the secret motivations in human behavior and the guilt and anxiety that he believed resulted from all sins against humanity, especially those of pride.

In his preoccupation with sin he followed the tradition of his Puritan ancestors. This could not be said about his concept of the consequences of sin, as either punishment due to lack of humility and overwhelming pride, or regeneration by love and atonement. In this he deviated radically from the idea of predestination held by his descendents. Hawthorne characterized most of his books as romances, a category of literature not as strictly bound to realistic detail as novels.

This freed him to manipulate the atmospheres of his scenes and the actions of his characters in order to represent symbolically the passions, emotions, and anxieties of his characters and to expose “the truth of the human heart” that he believed lies hidden beneath mundane daily life. Hawthorne’s emphasis on allegory and symbolism often makes his characters seem shadowy and unreal, but his best characters reveal the emotional and intellectual ambivalence he felt to be inseparable from the Puritan heritage of America.

Hawthorne’s Pride Of Intellect

Many of Hawthorne’s characters wrap themselves in a pride of intellect. The characters become victims of their pride and consequently suffer. Goodman Brown, from “Young Goodman Brown” and Hooper, from “The Minister’s Black Veil” are two characters that suffer from a pride of intellect. Their pride causes them similar problems and they end up living similar lives, although they came from different backgrounds. Hooper and Goodman Brown both become isolated from society. Hooper had a revelation, and he feels that he truly understands human nature and sin.

However, he believes that he is above everybody else because he has this understanding. This is what causes the major separation between Hooper and society. After Hooper dawns the veil he can no longer function or act as a normal person, because of this feeling of superiority. His perception of an ultimate human isolation leaves him the man most isolated in what Hawthorne describes as that saddest of all prisons, his own heart . . . “(The Minister’s Black Veil,228). The veil affects all parts of his life, his fiance leaves him and he can no longer relate to his congregation the same way.

As a result of wearing the veil, Hooper becomes a man apart, isolated from love and sympathy, suspected and ven feared by his congregation”(Minister’s Black Veil, 228). Goodman Brown suffers the same fate because he also has a feeling of superiority over the rest of the village. He attains this feeling after he sees all the people that he though were good and pure participating in satanic rituals in the forest. He looses all faith in the community and feels as though he is above them because he was able to resist the devil.

The lack or trust trusting that Goodman Brown had separated him from the community because he was a strong Puritan and felt as though he could not associate devil worshipers. Brown, despairing and embittered, belongs neither to the Devil’s party nor to the only other life-sustaining cause he knows–that of the Puritan faith and the Puritan community”(Levy,119). Hooper and Goodman Brown’s pride of intellect cause them to loose a loved one and their kind and loving nature. Hooper drives his fiance Elizabeth away by wearing the veil.

Elizabeth sees how Hooper is separating himself and it scares her away from their purposed marriage. “Hooper’s fiancee, seems at first unawed by the veil. To her it is merely a cloth that hides the face she most delights to see. But, like a sudden twilight in the air, Elizabeth suddenly senses the unapproachable inner isolation of the man who wears it, and its’ terrors fall upon her, too”(The Minister’s Black Veil,228). As a result of Hooper pride, he looses his loving and kind nature.

Hooper is shunned and even feared by the others in their times of health and happiness”(The Minister’s Black Veil,228). He concentrates so much on the negative aspects of people that he refuses to see the good in them. “He makes the dark side of people the whole truth of human existence. His own kind and loving nature is lost for all”(The Minister’s Black Veil,228). Goodman Brown also looses someone very close to him. He separates himself from his wife Faith. This is a result of Goodman Brown’s pride.

He felt so strongly that he was the only innocent person that he could not trust anybody else including Faith, his apparently religiously devote wife. When Goodman Brown saw Faith in the forest (Hawthorne, 178) she became just like the other townsman. “He now knows that Faith’s voice has been mingled with the other familiar tones, heard daily at Salem village”(Levy,118). Goodman Brown’s loving nature is also lost due to his pride. He becomes separates himself so much that he can no longer hold a loving elationship with Faith like he did early in the story(Hawthorne,165).

Hooper from “The Minister’s Black Veil” and Goodman Brown from “Young Goodman Brown” both suffer similar fates from their pride of intellect. It caused them to be drastically separated from society, and to loose loved ones and their loving nature. Their pride of intellect changed their whole lives. It can be seen as a cloak that the characters try to wrap themselves in to escape human nature and mankind. It is obvious that the characters did not consider or were not aware of the penalties of their intellectual pride.

Diversity of Hawthorne’s Writings in “Young Goodman Brown”, “Ethan Brand”, and “The Birthmark”

“… it is no delusion. There is an Unpardonable Sin! ” , a quote by Ethan Brand that is at the root of many stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Nathaniel Hawthornes gloomy, dark style of writing is an emphasis on his theme of evil at societies heart. Writing about what he knew Hawthorne described the puritan society in different periods of time and defined different characters but all connected through his style. The stories that exemplify the diversity of Hawthornes writing are “Young Goodman Brown” , ” Ethan Brand” , and “The Birthmark” .

Having read these stories it is possible to become engrossed in he darkness that is portrayed and none is better than “Young Goodman Brown” . Young Goodman Brown, the character, is first introduced to us in the clearing of Salem village and we learn that he has faith in the goodness of the village and Faith for his companion as well. The people that we meet in Salem village in the first few paragraphs are just Goodman and Faith.

These two characters are very important to understand for their surface characters or illusional characters. It is soon learned that Goodman Brown is not such a good man and later Faith shows us just as much false character. Goodman and Faith are not the only characters that are not all they seem to be. We come to meet more characters in the short story that are superficial as is the village itself. Goodman Brown leaves the bright, warm, goodness of his village to make a journey in the woods to meet a stranger.

A good place to meet a stranger would be these surrounding woods of Salem for it is here that described by Nathaniel Hawthorne that “He had taken a dreary road,darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through, and closed immediately behind. and like the scheming mind of an evil person the dark woods leads one down the wrong pathway. The woods are not an allusion as was the village, the woods are exactly what they seem to be therefore the characters met inside the woods will be as shady as the woods themselves.

Leading Goodman Brown to his despair is the first character, the stranger. The stranger is much older than the Goodman but the two converse easily and both understand each other even though they talk around Goodmans evil purpose. It is this easy conversation that Hawthorne writes to us about Goodmans evil. Though Goodman Brown believes himself to be lone in his journey down the trail the stranger tells him that it is a beaten path and has been taken even by his father.

So does the world that has been built up around Goodman Brown begin to crumble and with the first blow he is set up for more devastation into the world of the devil. ” Wickedness or not, I have a very general acquaintance here in New England. ” The devilish stranger explains how even the noblest of people have an evil in their character and those who hide are those who are trusted the most.

Many of these characters that the stranger knows are companions of the Goodman and these are Goody Cloyce ,the Deacon, the other patriots of Salem, and even his own wife Faith who he sees worshiping in the woods behind a hazy fire. By telling the story of a devil worshiping town in Salem, which is already known for its witch scare, Hawthorne tries to convey his beliefs that in all of humanity there can and is evil. For those who believe themselves to be good are not and those who do not are. ” Ethan Brand” is a different sort of story that will take place in the side of a mountain where a man and his son and one particular a llimekiln stoaker enter the scene.

Visualized to us by Hawthorne Bartram and his son are itting by the kiln, Bartram the steady worker burns limestone and talks to his son about Ethan Brand. Ethan Brand is a mystery and is representative of the people who are not understood or who may be the outcasts of society. Ethan Brand was a mystery to his townspeople who by leaving the daily routine of life and discontinuing the collective society was branded an outcast and maybe even evil.

Hawthorne tries to tell the reader through the words of the character Ethan Brand about the unpardonable sins in the world. what need have I of the Devil? I have left him behind me, on my track. It is with such alfway sinners as you that he busies himself. Fear not because I open the door. I do but act by old custom, and am going to trim your fire, like a lime-burner, as I was once. ” by this one statement Ethan Brand decides that he is not a pawn of the devil as thought to be. The characters that Nathaniel Hawthorne writes about in this story are on the opposite side of the good and evil idealism.

These characters are not worshiping the Devil as those in ” Young Goodman Brown” but are just as devilish in their track of thought. Both , described by Hawthorne, are small towns and the thinking is small as well. This small thinking connects them and I believe that Hawthorne meant the group opposed to the individual are the devils pawns. Though the main characters in the stories believe themselves to be evil somehow Hawthorne portrays them to have the most humanity of any of the characters.

There are many such lime- kilns in that tract of country, for the purpose of burning white marble which composes a large part of the substance of the hills. Some of them, built years ago, and long deserted, with weeds growing in the vacant round of the interior… ” setting the scene for the Devils advocates Hawthorne writes about he hills of the limekilns. The vivid details of the characters surroundings shapes the characters themselves and we read about them both to help understand Hawthornes idea of evil in humanity.

Overall in the description of both these the reader can visualize how a person can be evil. Evil is at the root of the story in ” The Birthmark” for it is here that Hawthorne writes about the most sinful character. In all of the seven deadly sins committed by man; the deadliest of all is pride. Priding ones self is terrible but carrying this vanity to another can be deadly. After reading ” The Birthmark” the character Aylmer finds for himself that pride costed him dearly, he lost his lovely wife. Aylmer is representative of the sin pride.

Hawthorne describes the character in such a way that Aylmer portrays himself as Godlike. The character Aylmer is evil because according to Hawthorne ” He had devoted himself, however, too unreservedly to scientific studies ever to be weaned from them by any second passion. “. Is this the possible pride that leads a man to be considered evil? Yes, according to evidence in the story Hamthorne makes the character Aylmer in human by taking away his passion for his wife and having it eplaced by passion for only his work.

Hawthorne describes Aylmers preoccupation with perfecting his wifes beauty in the story when writing ” At all the seasons which should have been their happiest, he invariably and without intending it, nay, in spite of a purpose to the contrary reverted to this one disastrous topic. ” . Through this text the author creates a character that we may see into in order to reveal the one tracked mind. Pride is the ultimate goal for Aylmar; he intends to make a prize of his wife by trying to make her extraordinary person and alleviating any blemishes.

His wife Georgianais the innocent victim in the story because she must follow her husbands wishes. Hawthorne once again writing in his time period made traditional characters of society and these people were in an average class; henceforth keeping traditional good and evil characters as in many fiction stories. Hawthorne has created a couple who are the examples of good and evil; Georgiana has the mark of innocence upon her and Aylmer carries delusions of grandeur. Georgiana is admired for her beauty by the publics eye and Aylmer is envied by the same.

Hawthorne tells us outright that the two are not happy but hat must be understood is that because Aylmer is unhappy with her birthmark , ” My peerless bride, it is successful! You are perfect! , … dearest Aylmer, I am dying. ” , pays the ultimate price for perfection. Nathaniel Hawthorne is a world renowned writer for his many skills but especially for his vivid descriptions of gloom and darkness. These skills define his writing and have an affect on the reader of astonishment. The dark gloomy writing that Hawthorne portrays in all of these stories give an insight to the evil of normal people and how it has fatal potential.

Young Goodman Brown, The Maypole of Merrymount, and The Birth-Mark

I began my Hawthorne reading task with The Birth-Mark. I picked this story because I am familiar with the Maypole of Merrymount and Young Goodman Brown, and I wanted to try something different. I was pleasantly surprised with The Birth-Mark, in my mind it far surpasses the latter two stories. I think one of the most admirable traits of Hawthorne is his ability to write as though actions are taking place somewhere in the present. Aylmer could very well live today, somewhere in the world with his laboratory in the backyard.

Men like Young Goodman Brown are everywhere in today’s society, and, still, there are those who try and destroy that which they do not understand or refuse to understand like the Puritans in The Maypole of Merrymount. The Birth-Mark grapples with the scientific progress of the time. I think the theme of humans trying to control nature with unfavorable results is prevalent in many works of the time, most notably Frankenstein. The fixation that Aylmer has on Georgiana’s birthmark is unnatural. Hawthorne correlates this quest for perfection with Aylmer’s intentions of formulating an elixir of life and mastering the art of alchemy.

Maybe Hawthorne is drawing a parallel here between the scientists of his day trying to control nature and by the failure of scientists to do this in the past. Aylmer’s attempt to control nature leads to the death of his wife which is unnecessary, she is quite content with the minor facial blemish until he makes a big deal about it. Maybe this too is a parallel between the mass majority being content with the state of the world and a certain few who would like to make it better, and, in turn, destroy it. I can understand Hawthorne’s idea. I live in constant fear of nuclear war and the technology that has made it available.

But, I am grateful for the medical advances we have today. It is a double-edge sword. (I am not implying that Aylmer is an evil man, I do not think he is aware of the chaos he can arouse. In fact, he is merely concerned with progress and saving humans from their own mortality and “humanness”. ) There is one imparticular line from the story that I sound most engaging: Hawthorne’s description “The scenery and the figures of actual life were perfectly represented, but with that bewitching, yet indescribably difference, which always makes a picture, an image, or a shadow, so much more attractive than the original.

When I read this I stopped mid-story. This is a common theme throughout Romantic poetry I have encountered. Immediately it reminded me of Shelly’s “To A Sky-Lark” and “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by Keats. Both of these poems describe unattainable perfection. The skylark’s song is beautiful, but it flies so high we are unable to see the creature and hense, the song seems to come from the heavens. In “Ode… “, Keats spends much time describing the beauty of the grecian scene on the vase but then refutes it with “cold pastoral”. Those two words could describe this short story.

From the outside, Aylmer thinks that everything on Georgiana would be perfect if she didn’t have the birthmark. What he doesn’t realize is perfection is unattainable, except in our minds. The Maypole of Merrymount describes a maypole, and it’s significance in American history. Hawthorne creates a scene of revelry (almost a Mardi Gras scene) and has it destroyed by the Puritans. This story reminds me of the Christian Creation Story with the maypole being the Garden of Eden and the Puritans being allegorical figures of Satan. Hawthorne seems to blame the demise of the American freespirit on the Puritans.

I don’t have much to comment on this story it is really a cut and dry case. I think Hawthorne is harsh on the Puritans. I read somewhere that the view we have of the Puritans today is somewhat misleading. They did not always wear black and never laughed. Maybe to some, they did cause the utopic garden of America to be shattered. After reading The Maypole of Merry Mount and Young Goodman Brown it is quite obvious the contempt Hawthorne holds for the Puritans. In Young Goodman Brown, Brown is led on a path where he encounters the devil and realizes that everyone surrounding him in his Puritan neighborhood is evil at heart.

He learns his father and grandfather before him did the devil’s work, as well as the women he holds with utmost admiration. Brown turns from “Faith” (his wife in one sense and his actual faith in another) when he learns that everything he believed in is a sham. I feel as though I cannot write about this story without mentioning the fact that it is a story about good and evil where evil prevails. Goodman Brown is a weak man presumably coming from weak stock. I suppose according to Hawthorne it is the existence of Puritan blood in his veins, which makes him a cowardly man.

He is a conformist, instead of standing against the wrongs of his community he embraces the same fate as everyone else. The theme of the story carries through to today’s society. Oftentimes people will join groups or subscribe to ideologies they otherwise would not due to that fact that so many of their kin and respected leaders do. The story made me think of Thoreau. In Civil Disobedience, Thoreau actions toward the Mexican War are the antitheses of those that would have been done by Young Goodman Brown.

A Truly Hawthorne Nation

Many people have had an effect on this country. The reason for this lies in our country’s youth. The United States formed at a time when technological advancements allowed many more people to leave a legacy in its dawning. These advancements led to a creation of literary history. I find it hard to say one person had a larger effect on anything than anyone else, but some people do seem to stand out more than others. In helping to form, or even by just translating how others helped to form this country, authors were able to compile a great deal of literature.

This literature has left us a way to earn about our history and many of the important people in it. One of these important people, whom also happened to be an author, was Nathaniel Hawthorne. He wrote about his own experiences, including his observations of other people’s experiences. His life led him to the right places at the right times. Today anybody can pick up his works and take from them the knowledge of what it was like to live during his times. Anyone who reads his work inherits just a little bit of his style into their own writing.

There is so much of his own work, on top of so much work pertaining to him, in this world that it is ard for him not to have made an impact on it. He has served as a translator, taking in the influences of his time and especially the people of his time, to in turn influence the future. Nathaniel Hathorne was born July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts(Carey ed. 6). Here alone is where he gained much of his influence, both through his family’s history, as well as in his own time. Much of his persona can be understood by knowing some facts of his life.

His father died, while at sea, of yellow fever in 1808(Carey ed. 6). Due to a leg injury in 1813 Nathaniel was unable to attend school and was thus home aught by Joseph Worcester for a short time(online:Dates 1800 to 1900- a timeline from Nathaniel Hawthorne: 4/1/99). In 1819 he attended Samuel Archer’s School, in preparation for college(Martin 11). In 1820 he was tutored by Benjamin Oliver(11). He began his studies at Bowdoin in 1821, where he was privileged enough to work along side Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Franklin Pierce, and other great minds(Carey ed. ).

In 1830 he added a “w” to his last name, changing it to Hawthorne(online: Dates: 4/1/99). In 1838 a good friend of his, Jonathan Cilley, died in a duel in Washington D. C. (online: Dates: 4/1/99). Nathaniel married Sophia Peabody in July of 1842. He served as consul to Liverpool from 1853 to 1857, a job he received from President Franklin Pierce, most likely as a gift for having written his biography. Nathaniel his wife Sophia and their many children lived a happy adventure filled life.

I find it really simple to see where Nathaniel Hawthorne gained his influences, whether it be his family history or the unique paths he chose to take in his extraordinary life. His family had a deep history in quaint Salem Village, where they were involved in he infamous Salem Witch Trials. His embarrassment of this history is the reason many people speculate he changed the spelling of his name. During the early 1830’s Nathaniel spent time with the Shakers of Cantebury, New Hampshire(Online: Dates: 4/1/99). In 1840 he began a job in the Boston Custom House.

He lived at Brook Farm, a utopian community in West Roxbury, for part of 1841(online: Dates: 4/1/99). From 1853 to 1857, Nathaniel served as consul to Liverpool. I find it easy to say he did not live the average life, he always strove to learn as much as possible about anything he could. Luckily for him, but even more so for us, Nathaniel Hawthorne was given many opportunities to share his wealth of information with the world. In 1836 he was given the privilege of editing and mostly writing the American Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge(Carey ed. ).

In 1837 Nathaniel edited Peter Parley’s Universal History (Martin 11). In 1845 he edited Journal of an African Cruiser, for Horatio Bridge (online: Dates: 4/1/99). In 1847 Hawthorne reviewed Longfellow’s Evangeline. In September of 1852 he published The Life of Franklin Pierce, which was used as the ampaign biography, when Pierce became the fourteenth president. These were some of his breaks that lead him deeper and more involved into this country’s literary history.

The place where we can most enjoy Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work is in his books. After spending a portion of his life at Bowdoin, he anonymously published Fanshawe, his first attempt at sharing the personal views of his life with the public. Fanshawe was basically a description of the goings on in his college life. He later went on to remove as many copies of this book from the world as possible. We can only speculate as to why e did not want it in circulation, though we continue to print it today.

Soon after marrying Sophia, he lived at the Old Manse in Concord, where he was introduced to Ralph Waldo Emerson, the owner of the Manse, Henry David Thorough, a good friend and frequent visitor of Emerson’s, Amos Bronson Alcott, a nearby neighbor, Margaret Fuller, and many other radicals of the Transcendentalism movement(Carey ed. :6). Soon after moving out of the Old Manse, in 1846, Nathaniel published Mosses from an Old Manse(online: Dates: 4/1/99). This book is very important, because it is written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and in it he has left a trace of how other great authors influenced him.

In 1850 he published The Scarlet Letter, a story somewhat based on his ancestors’ participation in the shortcomings of the early Puritans(online: Dates: 4/1/99). After he had been consul to Liverpool, Nathaniel along with his family traveled Europe, and took great notes of the experiences they had. After going back to Salem he used the compilation of notes as the basis of The Marble Faun, which he published in 1860 (online: Dates: 4/1/99). As you can see from the pattern which I am creating, Nathaniel Hawthorne took in his influences and put his interpretations down in his work.

Not only did Nathaniel Hawthorne help to write our history, he helped to spread it in other fashions too. In 1848 he became a manager in a Lyceum, where he was able to use his influence to invite Emerson, Thoreau, Agassiz, Horace Mann, and countless others to lecture(online: Dates: 4/1/99). Through his many relationships, such as his infamous friendship with Franklin Pierce, Hawthorne had the tools to get people informed. As anyone can plainly see, by helping to record history, Nathaniel Hawthorne has ecome an integral part of it.

His influences span far beyond that of my own comprehension. He had an impact on people in his own time, just as he has had on people ever since. In 1849 Hawthorne met Herman Melville at a picnic. The kinship formed between these two artists was shown when Melville dedicated his book Moby Dick to Hawthorne in 1851(Sorel: 73). On March 21, 1994 Vice President Al Gore gave this speech to the International Telecommunications Union: “I have come here 8,000 kilometers from my home to ask you to help create a Global Information Infrastructure.

To explain why, I want to begin by reading you something that I first read in high school, 30 years ago. “By means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time….. The round globe is a vast…. brain, instinct with intelligence! ” This was not the observation of a physicist—or a neurologist. Instead, these visionary words were written in 1851 by Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of my country’s greatest writers, who inspired by the development of the telegraph .

Much as Jules Verne forsawe submarines and moon landings , Hawthorne foresaw what we are now poised to bring into being …. ” Whether it be in the development of a technological breakthrough, or the completion of a short story, Nathaniel Hawthorne has been blessed with the ability to touch upon every achievement in this nation. I believe in many ways, Hawthorne was foretelling the future. One such example is when he published The Scarlet Letter, and how he opened up many issues pertaining to the Women’s Liberation Movement.

He used a lot of symbolism in all his writings, such s in Young Goodman Brown, these symbols were put into place to show women were just as important as men, which also took part in the Women’s Suffrage Movement later on. It took a very open-minded man to include these concepts in his works. Quite possibly these works helped to influence the progression of women to go along as well as it has. Like the purpose of a history, Nathaniel Hawthorne has taken the mistakes of the past and taught the future not to make them again, or in the case of mankind he has taught us to refrain from doing it over and over again, as much as possible.

Nathaniel Hawthorne took what he had as a history along with the influences in his time to tell the world a story. Whether they were stories from before his time, stories based on his own life, or even just ideas he spread through the bonds he made, he helped knit a sense of history that this nation can call its own. I believe he had just the right mix of history and connections to put him in the center stage of influence. He had relationships with other great authors and artists of his time, whom he was able to grasp the concepts of.

He had the political ties from which to gain power and initiative. He even had a family history from which to build on. All these attributes combined with one of the nineteenth century’s greatest minds, Nathaniel Hawthorne has been able to do more for this nation than we could ever understand. He paved the way for future writers and historians. He opened the doors for women and liberals. Most of all, he kept us “up to date” on our past. You see, Nathaniel Hawthorne really has served as a translator, taking in the influences of his time and interpreting them in a way to influence the future.

Biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts, the descendent of a long line of Puritan ancestors, including John Hathorne, a presiding magistrate in the Salem witch trials. After his father was lost at sea when he was only four, his mother became overly protective and pushed him toward more isolated pursuits. Hawthorne’s childhood left him overly shy and bookish, and molded his life as a writer. Hawthorne turned to writing after his graduation from Bowdoin College. His first novel, Fanshawe, was unsuccessful and Hawthorne himself disavowed it as amateurish.

However, he wrote several successful short stories, including “My Kinsman, Major Molyneaux,” “Roger Malvin’s Burial” and “Young Goodman Brown. ” However, insufficient earnings as a writer forced Hawthorne to enter a career as a Boston Custom House measurer in 1839. However, after three years Hawthorne was dismissed from his job with the Salem Custom House. By 1842, however, his writing amassed Hawthorne a sufficient income for him to marry Sophia Peabody and move to The Manse in Concord, which was at that time the center of the Transcendental movement.

Hawthorne returned to Salem in 1845, where he was ppointed surveyor of the Boston Custom House by President James Polk, but was dismissed from this post when Zachary Taylor became president. Hawthorne then devoted himself to his most famous novel, The Scarlet Letter. He zealously worked on the novel with a determination he had not known before. His intense suffering infused the novel with imaginative energy, leading him to describe it as the “hell-fired story. ” On February 3, 1850, Hawthorne read the final pages to his wife. He wrote, “It broke her heart and sent her to bed with a grievous headache, which I look upon as a triumphant success.

The Scarlet Letter was an immediate success and allowed Hawthorne to devote himself to his writing. He left Salem for a temporary residence in Lenox, a small town the Berkshires, where he completed the romance The House of the Seven Gables in 1851. While in Lenox, Hawthorne became acquainted with Herman Melville and became a major proponent of Melville’s work, but their friendship became strained. Hawthorne’s subsequent novels, The Blithedale Romance, based on his years of communal living at Brook Farm, and the romance The Marble Faun, were both considered disappointments.

Hawthorne supported himself through another political post, the consulship in Liverpool, which he was given for writing a campaign biography for Franklin Pierce. Hawthorne passed away on May 19, 1864 in Plymouth, New Hampshire after a long period of illness in which he suffered severe bouts of dementia.. Emerson described his life with the words “painful solitude. ” Hawthorne maintained a strong friendship with Franklin Pierce, but otherwise had few intimates and little engagement with any sort of social life. His works remain notable for their treatment of guilt and the complexities of moral choices.

Nathaniel Hawthorne: Literature of Consience

Nathaniel Hawthornes works established him as one of the most unique authors of the 19th century. With works such as The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne not only entertained his audience, he made them look at their own life and compare it to 17th century Puritan New England. He also brought readers to the realization of how harsh and difficult the period of American History was. Hawthornes unique style of writing and his ability to probe deep into the human conscience made him one of Early Americas most greatly admired authors.

The Hawthornes had already left their legacy with the town of Salem leaving Nathaniel Hawthorne a long rich history of ancestry in the town. In 1630, William Hawthorne made the Journey to the New World with John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts. Two of Hawthornes relatives who were directly involved with the Salem witch trials, also left their mark on the town. Hawthorne carried a direct relation to Judge Hathorne himself, being the primary cause of Hawthorne later adding a w to his name. Another of his relatives, Phillip English, was accused of witchcraft.

These events definitely affected Hawthorne, even after the name change. Even as a grown man he used to say he could still hear the ghosts in the old houses of Salem (Manley 23). His father was occupied with a Salem shipping company. His occupation frequently took him away on voyages delivering spices and silks. One day, he returned to Salem to find his wife had given birth to a new son. He had been born on the 4th of July in 1804 and was given the name Nathaniel. His father loved Nathaniel, affectionately called Nath, dearly, but could not spend much time with him because of his job.

One fateful day, he was assigned to captain a ship on a voyage to Suriname, in South America. A few weeks later, Hawthorne received the devastating news that the rampaging Yellow Fever had put an end to his fathers life. Although Hawthorne was greatly saddened by his fathers death, it did not have the distinguishing affect on his life that it did on his mothers. She became withdrawn almost to the extent of reclusive. The rest of her life was lived in a state of melancholy. Hawthorne loathed to be in close proximity to his mother.

He spent a large portion of childhood at the wharves in Salem, watching the schooners come in bringing silks and spices. Hawthornes life reflected his great love of the ocean, which probably originated at the now famous wharves. At the age of nine, one of the most significant events in Hawthornes life occurred. The typical New England boy, Hawthorne was very physically active and athletic. One fateful day, while Hawthorne was playing ball, he injured his foot. Not only was his foot damaged, but it grew together improperly and created a problem which would ail him for the rest of his life.

After his accident, Hawthorne was confined to his bed because he had lost mobility. During this time, Hawthorne read many books that would became his favorites, and also have an impact on his writing. These books included Pilgrims Progress, by Bunyan, and Faerie Queen, by Spenser. He also enjoyed reading Shakespeare. When the condition of his leg improved, he put on small plays for his sister, who also admired Shakespeare. At this point in his life, Hawthorne became mildly reclusive because he had been accustomed to sitting inside reading all day due to the fact that he could not walk properly.

He mostly confined himself to his room where he began writing. Hawthorne founded a hand-printed magazine, The Spectator, which include some of Hawthornes early literature. He filled his magazine with some of his personal humor. His most amiable times were spent in his Printing Office working on his magazine. This appears to be the first time Hawthorne became seriously interested in writing. As Hawthornes became older, he began to make plans to attend college. The College his Uncle chose was Bowdoin College. The first class at Bowdoin College consisted of seven members.

His Uncle, who paid his expenses, chose this simplistic and ancient college. Its classes were modeled after Harvards with a strong emphasis on Latin, Greek, and moral character (Hoeltje 53-54). During his attendance there, Hawthorne became friends with two of his soon to be illustrious classmates, Franklin Pierce and Henry David Thoreau. When Hawthorne returned from college, he decided to pursue writing further. His Uncle became incensed that he had paid for Hawthornes education, yet Hawthorne had ignored his requests for him to go into the stagecoach business.

His mother shared his Uncles anger due to the fact that Hawthorne no longer pitied his mother in her state of continual grief. As Hawthorne matured, he would produce many manuscripts. His first manuscript was Seven Tales of My Native Land. Many publishers rejected the Novel. Eventually, someone finally agreed to publish the novel. The man delayed so long in publishing the work that Hawthorne, in a fit of rage, burned the manuscript. This was a major setback for Hawthorne, but it would not last long. Throughout his life, whenever he found a copy of the printed book, he would burn it.

In his first years upon returning from college, Hawthorne produced a romance novel called Fanshawe. The novel was about a girl who is attending Harley College who is so beautiful that two men fall in love with her. Fanshawe is taking a walk in the woods when he observes someone trying to kidnap the girl. He foils the kidnapper’s plans, but refuses all rewards and dies a young man. The kidnapper marries the girl. His next manuscript, printed in 1826, was Twice Told Tales, which became a very popular book. Edgar Allen Poe became a well-known advocate of the book.

He thought Hawthorne to be a pure writer and said that his tone was very effective. His only complaint about the book was a discrepancy with the title. He felt Twice Told Tales was an improper name for the novel because he felt the tales in the book would be told more than a thousand times over (Online). Henry W. Longfellow also loved the book and said of it Live ever sweet book (Manley 80). As Hawthorne continued to age, he looked at the prospect or marrying someone. The Peabodys had been friends with the Hawthornes for years. Hawthorne began to make frequent visits to the girls of the household.

Although Elizabeth Peabody took a great interest in Hawthorne, he was truly in love with her sister Sophia. Sophia was somewhat of an invalid. When Hawthorne first came to visit, she remained upstairs in her room. Eventually, Sophia also fell in love with Hawthorne. They would take long walks by the wharves and eventually they knew they were both in love. Hawthorne became increasingly excited at the prospect of marriage. He decided they should live in a utopian type community called Brook Farm. Snow and other bad weather constantly plagued the farm and Hawthorne decided this environment was too unstable to raise a family in.

They were married the next June. They spent their honeymoon in Concorde at The Old Manse, the former home of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Sophia and Hawthorne quickly fell in love with its beauty and scenery. While at the Old Manse, Hawthorne published a novel based on his experiences at Brook Farm. The narrator of the tale, Miles Cloverdale, symbolizes the same skeptical overseer at Brook Farm. Many other characters in the book are based on acquaintances at Brook farm (Cohen 67). Hawthorns first child, a daughter, was born in 1844.

Hawthorne named her Una after the heroine of Faerie Queen, the book he loved so much as a child. Near the same time, Sophias sister, husband of the great educator Horace Mann, also gave birth to a child. It was a joyous time for both families. While at The Old Manse, Hawthorne enjoyed the friendship of two other authors, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Hawthorne, Sophia, Thoreau, and Emerson frequently took ice-skating expeditions down the frozen Concorde River. They also went for long walks in the forest and listened to Emerson and Thoreau with their naturalistic skills.

These would prove to be long and lasting friendships for Hawthorne. Later, Hawthorne left Concorde to return back to Salem. He took a position at the Salem Customs House as a surveyor. Although he did not particularly delight in his position, he enjoyed the prestige it brought to his family. Whenever possible, Hawthorne would take time off of his job to stroll down the wharves and watch the ships as he did as a child. Hawthorne was a staunch Democrat and when in 1848 Zachary Taylor was elected president, the Whigs of Salem signed a petition demanding his removal from the office.

After this Hawthorne returned to writing. Hawthorne was extremely resentful at his removal from his position at the Customs House. After leaving the Customs House, Hawthorne published the novel The Scarlet Letter. In the introduction to the novel, Hawthorne dedicated two paragraphs to express his contempt of the town of Salem. Although this angered many Salemites, the book became very popular, even with many Salemites. According to John Clendenning, The novel is controlled by a single idea the suffering that results from sin(114).

In the book, Hawthorne reveals that in Puritan New England, a sinner was not necessarily physically isolated, but socially isolated. This isolation led to the suffering of Hester Prynne. This romance can be easily felt by its audience as well as understood. We sympathize with Hester Prynne although she has committed a crime. Such was the power of Hawthornes work. Finally, Hawthorne had had enough of Salem. He packed his bags and moved to Lenox, Massachusetts. The citizens of Salem that had not resented him after The Scarlet Letters publishing despised him now.

He hated the town so much that when he left he stated, I am now a citizen of somewhere else (Manley 136). In Lenox, Hawthorne published another novel called The House of the Seven Gables. Hawthorne had trouble writing this novel because, unlike The Scarlet Letter, it had to be written in different tones (Miller 109). E. P. Whipple greatly admired the novel. He thought the former part of the book was much better than the latter, however. He felt that the latter parts of the book did not have the same force and precision of the earlier parts (Crowley 147).

Nathaniel Hawthorne, One Of The Most Substantial Writers Of His Time

Nathaniel Hawthorne is considered to be one of the most substantial writers of his time. His most famous novel, The Scarlet Letter truly originated Hawthorn’s version of romantic writing. It was this novel that also originated Hawthorne’s fame. Most of his works deal with or have some relation to Puritan times. The reason for the familiarity in his works is due to the fact that it seems to be influenced by his own Puritan ancestry. It was not until late in Hawthorne’s life that he received recognition.

To do this Hawthorne had to change his name and found his own stlye of writing that pertained to his life experiances. His romantic style might have been too modern for the times, but eventually he was understood. Hawthorne was known for his ability to create such a compelling story in just a few pages. Within these few pages, flows an elaborate and complex story. These stories flow so steadily and with such complexity that Hawthorne seems to create his own romantic style. He does this by incooperateing many different situations that keep the reader intuned to the story.

In many of his short stories there seems to be a character that is infatuated with a person or an object. The reason for Hawthorne creating stories like this could stem from his own experience with infactuation. Hawthorne was a very lonley person. He lived by himself for a long time until he married later in life. In the story, the main characters usually seem to spend a lot of time with or thinking about the objects of their infatuation. In these stories, the character goes through a series of psychological issues dealing with his infatuation.

An example of the psychological issues pertaining to infatuation is portrayed in Rappaccini’s Daughter. This work deals with a young man named Giovanni who is so blind by love that he becomes susceptible to deception. He is instantly mystified and enchanted by the beauty of Beatrice. She was a girl from the Italian village called Padua. Her father had once been a professor at the University of Padua, where Giovanni attended. Giovanni meets a professor named Baglioni who is very jealous of Rappaccini.

Giovanni is so love stricken that he is tricked by Baglioni and, poisons his love Beatrice. It is this style of writing that makes the stories seem romantic. The intensely, moral and psychological issues are the ingredients in a recipe that culminates romantic work. In another work by Hawthorne called, The Birthmark Aylmers devotion to science and his love for perfection, is a result of his downfall. His wife Georgiana was born with a large birthmark on her face. This birthmark seemed to be her only flaw but it was enough to drive Aylmer insane.

Aylmer is so in love with the idea of perfection that he winds up killing his wife. He kills her by trying to move her imperfection (the birthmark) from her face. The reason for her death is explained in a critical way. This birthmark was said to be where God had placed his hand on her. Once this birthmark was removed then God’s hand was gone and she died. Aylmer seems to be so infatuated with the idea of perfection that he does not consider the consequences of his actions. He was more concerned with the appearance of perfection in his wife then for her health.

Due to Aylmer’s actions he could be considered a person containing serious psychological issues. When doing this act he seems to be under a spell, mystified, and determined. This is also a prime example of Hawthorne’s definition of romance because it pertains to people dealing with their infactuation that in turn create tragedy. Hawthorne’s works could not be regarded as realistic because the things that are portrayed in these stories are like things seen in fairy tales. These occurrences could not actually happen in real life. He opens your mind to the pages of his works.

By creating fairy tale like stories he manages to expand your mind and make, you think about your own trials and tribulations. Often Hawthorne makes his villains very smart and witty. Although some of these work at first, seem to be based on reality when read in depth you realize that they are facetious. If these stories were regarded as reality then they would not have the same effects on the readers. A reader from Hawthorne’s time would not reflect on his work as much as a contemporary reader might. Sometimes we find that the stories that are the best are the ones that make you use your imagination.

For example, a movie called the Blair Witch Project, which contains some imagery, but majority of the scariness of the movie comes from your imagination. This is the same thing that Hawthorne accomplishes in his works. Hawthorne’s works have that ability to flow and progress with many different moral and psychological issues. He establishes an infatuation of some sort in most of his works. That stems from his actual dealings in life. His exuberantly detailed stories create a romantic style of writing that is only conducive to Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Young Goodman Brown, Faith or Destiny

Nathaniel Hawthorne made his mark as a major American writer in 1850, with the publication of The Scarlet Letter. His work appeals to different levels of readers because he creates complex and elaborate settings. Through conflicts within his characters, he analyzes the moral and psychological issues often consumed by their own passions. As he was growing up he could not escape the influence of Puritan religion. This influence along with the setting of his hometown in Salem, Massachusetts, are common topics in his work and in “Young Goodman Brown.

Nathaniel Hawthorne considers the question of good and evil, suggesting that true evil is judging and condemning others for sin without looking at one’s own sinfulness. He examines the idea that sin is part of being human and there is no escape from it. Of the many symbols he uses in this story, each has a profound meaning. They represent good and evil in the constant struggle of a young innocent man whose faith is being tested. As the story begins, Young Goodman Brown bids farewell to his young wife “Faith, as [she] was aptly named” (211).

When she ” thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap” we associate the purity of “Faith” and the “pink ribbons” as a sign of the innocence and goodness of the town he is leaving behind (211). As he continues “on his present evil purpose” he sets off at sunset to enter the forest (212). A place “darkened by all the gloomiest trees,” unknown territory, and a place where “there may be a devilish Indian behind every tree,” with this we know the forest represents evil and sinfulness (212).

His decision to enter the forest and leave his “Faith” behind is the first decision, of many, between good and evil that he must make. After entering the forest he meets a traveler whom he later finds out is the devil. He is carrying a staff representing evil, “which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought, that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself, like a living serpent” (213).

When the traveler offers his staff to Young Goodman Brown he resists by replying, “Having kept covenant by meeting thee here, it is my purpose to return whence I came. I have scruples, touching the matter thou wot’st of” (213). Still feeling strong in resisting temptation, Young Goodman Brown refuses to “be the first of the name of Brown, that ever took this path, and kept-” (213). At this time he feels he can resist any temptation by keeping his faith.

He refuses to believe the devil when he reveals to him that he has been “well acquainted with [his] family[they] were good friends” (213). In disbelief Young Goodman Brown is devastated, but knows that he still has his Faith. “It would break her dear little heart; and I’d rather break my own! ‘ (214). Trying desperately he holds on to his Christian belief, that he is going to Heaven, even when he recognizes the old woman who passes and says “That old woman taught me catechism! ” (215).

Soon after, he also hears Deacon Gookin and the minister discussing the evening’s event. Knowing that these people, in his mind, were the forefront of goodness on Earth, he is shattered as, ” Young Goodman Brown caught hold of a tree, for support, being ready to sink down on the ground, faint and overburdened with the heavy sickness of his heart ” (216). He again tries to resist temptation and cries out, “With Heaven above, and Faith below, I will yet stand firm against the devil! ” (216).

But when he hears many voices and among them is Faith, in desperation he yells out to her. As he awaits a response, a pink ribbon “fluttered lightly down through the air” (217). As he catches it he cries, “My Faith is gone! There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, devil! for to thee is this world given” (217). When he reaches his final destination he has lost all faith in mankind and everything he believes in. The question, ” Had Young Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest, and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting? ” is irrelevant (221).

Whether or not Young Goodman Brown was dreaming or not, his adventure through the forest ultimately causes him to believe that he is better than everyone else, and he disassociate himself from all those in the town as he judges them as being sinners. He becomes “a stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man” after his journey when he commits the ultimate sin of judging and condemning others without looking at one’s own sinfulness. In the end “they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone; for his dying hour was gloom (221).

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

People live with lies every day. Everyone from the President of the United States to the poorest beggar in New York City has told a lie. White lies, gray lies, and plain old dirty fat lies are strewn forth every day like water from a fountain. The only true difference between them is the amount of guilt they place on the liar. If they feel guilt, then they suffer greatly throughout their lives, from lots of small indiscretions or just once large one. The majority of the people in this world have the ability to alleviate their guilt through some kind of penance, but for some that is not enough.

Anything they do can not repeal the feeling of guilt and the knowledge they did something wrong. People like this make themselves sick with worry and regret, and they often die of their disease: depression. Those people who do manage to drop their guilt become productive members of society again because they have reconnected with the rest of the human race. They dont deny their guilt or their crimes, they just acknowledge there are some things they cannot change, they can just try to make up for them.

In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne the decision of the characters to ither admit or hide the truth determines the quality of their lives. While Hester Pryne admits her sins and resolves them over time through her charity work, Arthur Dimmsdale bottles up his sins and, even though he physically tortures himself, cannot resolve his great misdeeds.. The first character to choose a path is Hester Pryne. While she did have a child when she hadnt seen her husband in over a year, (a dead giveaway) she could have easily fled the colony before the birth.

She instead stayed and faced her peers, and in that way she admitted her sin. To lee would have led her along a completely different path, one of denial. Hester didnt quite buy into all the Puritan ideals, but she knew adultery was a sin against God, it said so in the bible. Only the tremendous courage she had, and the large sense of righteousness in her blood kept her from fleeing. And she obviously believed that her form of penance, would be enough to gain her sanctity in the eyes of God, even though the Puritans held opposing beliefs: The Scarlet Letter explicitly declares the impossibility of redemption for the sinner. pg#) If you dont let the world share in your uilt, it will all be upon you, and only you. With the crushing weight of guilt she would have had she would not lived longer than those seven years. Even the Puritan people who openly despised her at the time she exposed her sin, eventually were won over by her vast charity work. They begin to associate the letter A with able, and not adultery. And all she accomplished was because she spoke the truth, and the truth wasnt really as bad as it looked.

Her husband was an old misshapen man who she had no love for. He had been gone for a long period of time, and maybe she believed that he was even dead. Her sin was remote and not completely justified in the morals of these modern times, and she grasped that even then. The author Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote it best: Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred. (242) If all the people know your worst, only then can they begin to work through that and begin to see your best.

If all they see is the good side of you, then you are holding back from them, lying to them. Only when you show both sides do you begin to gain penance, and that is exactly what Hester Pryne did. While Hester Pryne gained freedom from her guilt, Dimmsdales failure to admit his crime slowly destroyed his life. Dimmsdale never confessed his sin, even though he was given numerous opportunities. And, like Chillingsworth said at the end of the book, a confession would have ended Chillingsworths evil prematurely: There was no place where thou couldst have escaped me! 236) In an obvious parallel to Hesters stout and quick admittance, Dimmsdale is the contradiction: he suffers great agony and fails to admit his sin until minutes before his death (a cowardly way out). His great Puritanical beliefs left him o recourse really: one of the main faults of Puritanism (and most Protestantism) is the lack of a way to cleanse yourself of sins: there is no described way to lay down your guilt. While Hester suffered those seven years with the townspeople united against her, Dimmsdale gained prestige and fame due to his great preaching.

He led wondrously moving sermons on honesty and the fate of those who did not come clean with God. The horribly ironic thing is that this would have gained him penance in our time: many former drug addicts make their living giving motivational lectures to roups pleading with them not to make the same mistakes. The only difference is the same one at the roots of all Dimmsdales problems: these drug users were all admitted junkies. Dimmsdale wasnt, and that just made him a gigantic hypocrite.

Instead Dimmsdale spent seven long years with a horrible secret burning in his heart, and later his chest. He used a bloody scourge to inflict a hideous wound upon himself in a misguided attempt to gain penance: Some affirmed that the Reverend Mr. Dimmsdale had begun a course of penance: which he afterwards, in so many futile methods, followed out- by inflicting a hideous torture on himself. 240) The key word in that quote is futile; the theme of his denial cannot be emphasized enough. All of his hidden sin also allowed one Mr. Chillingsworth to take advantage of him.

Why the effect of the medicines that Chillingsworth gave to Mr. Dimmsdale are never mentioned in the book (and highly debated even now) I firmly believe that they are what kept him alive those seven years. The only thing worse than horrible suffering leading to an early death is long, drawn out horrible suffering leading to death. And Hawthorne pulled no punches in describing the quality of life that Dimmsdale enjoyed: Hawthornes portrait of the twistings and windings of a guilty conscience is finely observed and vividly rendered. pg#) Truly Hawthorne must have had some horrible insight into a guilty conscience sometime during his life, or he just really disagreed with every single principle of Puritanism (maybe both). Truly, (no pun intended) Dimmdales failure to live honestly witch ravaged the quality of his life. Hester Prynes life of charity and honesty, blurred only with her great sin, ended with the love of her daughter and her ultimate forgivance. Dimmsdales life of dishonesty and hypocrisy led him down a winding piral of despair and depression with only a meager attempt at forgiveness near the end of his life.

The decision of the characters in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne to either admit or hide the absolute truths in their lives determined the quality of their lives. The guilty in this world will always have a choice, no matter how difficult it is. They can take Hesters route: admit their sins and strive the rest of their lives to gain forgiveness. Or they can take Dimmsdales route: Repress their sins and forever live with that awful feeling at the bottom of your stomach that the guilty have.

Young Goodman Brown By Hawthorne Allegory

In Hawthornes Young Goodman Brown, the characters and settings are used to show allegory. The characters and setting are used in metaphor to represent something else. The whole story of Young Goodman Brown, represents the journey of everyman. Its path that everyone follows, or so Hawthorne seems to believe. The main character, Young Goodman Brown represents the sense of everyone. His last name, Brown, is a common name and therefore could be taken to mean everyone because it is so common. Young could mean someone who is innocent and inexperienced. He is newly married and starting his new life or journey down hat path we call fate.

Goodman represents just that, a good man. Faith, Goodman Browns wife, represents just that, faith. She stands for Browns faith in god or a greater power than himself. There was a scream, drowned immediately in a louder murmur of voices, fading into far-off laughter, as the dark cloud swept away, leaving the clear and silent sky above goodman Brown. But something fluttered down through the air, and caught on the branch of a tree. The young man seized it and beheld a pink ribbon. My Faith is gone! cried he, after one stupefied moment. There is no good on earth; and sin so but a name.

Come devil! for to thee is this world given. (Hawthorne 196) The ribbon Brown seized from the branch was one of the things Hawthorne had used to describe Faith in the beginning of the story. Brown apparently lost Faith when he lost his faith in god represented by the ribbon falling through the air. The traveler represents the devil. But the only thing about him, that could be fixed upon as remarkable was his staff, which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought, that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself, like a living serpent.

This of course, must have been an ocular deception, assisted by the uncertain light. (Hawthorne 192) The devil is like a serpent, or is represented as a serpent in the story of Genesis. The serpent is sneaky and deceiving. Friend, said the other, exchanging his slow pace for a full stop, having kept covenant by meeting thee here, it is my purpose now to return whence I came. I have scruples, touching the matter thou wotst of. Sayest thou so? replied he of the serpent, smiling apart. Let us walk on, nevertheless, reasoning as we go, and if I convince thee not, thou shalt turn back. We are little way in the forest, yet.

Too far, too far! exclaimed the goodman, unconsciously resuming his walk. (Hawthorne 192) The traveler tricked Brown into proceeding with the journey without knowing he was continuing. The traveler acted as the devil or a serpent by being sneaky and got him to continue the journey. The setting of the dark forest represents the devils home. Its a place where one would picture the devil living because of the darkness. It is a place where very few would normally travel very deep into. The forest is like sin. The farther Goodman Brown goes into the forest the ore he is apt to loosing his faith.

Hawthornes story of Young Goodman Brown represents the path of life and how everyone that travels down this path meets evil along the way. My father never went into the woods on such an errand, nor his father before him. We have been a race of honest men and good Christians, since the days of the martyrs. And shall I be the first of the name Brown, that ever took this path, and kept- Such company, thou wouldst say, observed the elder person, interpreting his pause. Good, goodman Brown! I have been as well acquainted with your family as with ever a one among he Puritans; and thats no trifle to say.

I helped your grandfather, the constable, when he lashed the Quaker woman so smartly through the streets of Salem. And it was I that brought your father a pitch-pine knot, kindled at my own hearth, to set fire to an Indian village, in king Phillips war. They were my good friends, both; and many a pleasant walk have we had along this path and returned merrily after midnight. I would fain be friends with you, for their sake. (Hawthorne 192) The reference to Browns ancestors shows that he is not the only one who has taken this path.

It shows that even the people he ould never have suspected to take the same path as him actually have to his surprise. These people are just the everyday person showing everyone will take the journey of life and all will be tempted by evil. But even though some might lose their faith, the can still get it back. This is shown in reference to where Hawthorne threw in that it might have just been a dream. Had goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest, and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting? (Hawthorne 199) this only shows that even though Goodman brown was tempted by evil and may have lost his faith, he also had later gotten it back.

The Birthmark, Nathaniel Hawthorne

Hawthornes clear-sighted rendering of what was due to both matter and spirit emerges in The Birthmark, at the end of which Melville wrote, the moral here is wonderfully fine. The moral of Nathaniel Hawthorns story The Birthmark is not to meddle with God and his creation, and that every person needs to realize everything as is for a reason.

The story shows that we are born the way God wants us to be, and we actually ought to accept people as they are. It is almost as if Georgiana was in the hand of God with this birthmark, and as Aylmer tries to remove this physical human imperfection he removes Gods hand; spiritually from Georgiana thus, releasing her from Gods hand and killing her. Very soon after their marriage Aylmer brings the birthmark to the attention of the two.

Aylmer opened his eyes upon his wife’s face and recognized the symbol of imperfection As Aylmer contemplates this birthmark he becomes infatuated with discuss of this physical imperfection of the human nature. There are many instances when Aylmer expresses his intense feeling that a woman as beautiful as Georgiana has such a grotesque physical imperfection.

“To tell you the truth it has been so often called a charm that I was simple enough to imagine it might be so. “Ah, upon another face perhaps it might,” replied her husband; “but never on yours. No, dearest Georgiana, you came so nearly perfect from the hand of Nature that this slightest possible defect, which we hesitate whether to term a defect or a beauty, shocks me, as being the visible mark of earthly imperfection(192). This quote also explains how Aylmer believes that a woman so beautiful should not have any physical imperfections. This is just how his personality is, confusing, disturbing, and immoral.

I disagree with Melvilles moral of the story; I believe the real moral is that God Created everything for a reason and everything god does is done for a definite reason. We should strive to rid ourselves of every spiritual imperfection rather than all of our physical imperfections, which God has intended us not to meddle with. When we enter the realm of trying to play God and when we do muddle with what God has intended to happen, there will end up being dire consequences.

“Young Goodman Brown”, by Nathaniel Hawthorne Analysis

“Young Goodman Brown”, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a story that is thick with allegory. “Young Goodman Brown” is a moral story which is told through the perversion of a religious leader. In “Young Goodman Brown”, Goodman Brown is a Puritan minister who lets his excessive pride in himself interfere with his relations with the community after he meets with the devil, and causes him to live the life of an exile in his own community. “Young Goodman Brown” begins when Faith, Brown’s wife, asks him not to go on an “errand”. Goodman Brown says to his “love and (my) Faith” that “this one night I must tarry away from thee.

When he says his “love” and his “Faith”, he is talking to his wife, but he is also talking to his “faith” to God. He is venturing into the woods to meet with the Devil, and by doing so, he leaves his unquestionable faith in God with his wife. He resolves that he will “cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven. ” This is an example of the excessive pride because he feels that he can sin and meet with the Devil because of this promise that he made to himself. There is a tremendous irony to this promise because when Goodman Brown comes back at dawn; he can no longer look at his wife with the same faith he had before.

When Goodman Brown finally meets with the Devil, he declares that the reason he was late was because “Faith kept me back awhile. ” This statement has a double meaning because his wife physically prevented him from being on time for his meeting with the devil, but his faith to God psychologically delayed his meeting with the devil. The Devil had with him a staff that “bore the likeness of a great black snake”. The staff which looked like a snake is a reference to the snake in the story of Adam and Eve. The snake led Adam and Eve to their destruction by leading them to the Tree of Knowledge.

The Adam and Eve story is similar to Goodman Brown in that they are both seeking unfathomable amounts of knowledge. Once Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge they were expelled from their paradise. The Devil’s staff eventually leads Goodman Brown to the Devil’s ceremony which destroys Goodman Brown’s faith in his fellow man, therefore expelling him from his utopia. Goodman Brown almost immediately declares that he kept his meeting with the Devil and no longer wishes to continue on his errand with the Devil.

He says that he comes from a “race of honest men and good Christians” and that his father had never gone on this errand and nor will he. The Devil is quick to point out however that he was with his father and grandfather when they were flogging a woman or burning an Indian village, respectively. These acts are ironic in that they were bad deeds done in the name of good, and it shows that he does not come from “good Christians. ” When Goodman Brown’s first excuse not to carry on with the errand proves to be unconvincing, he says he can’t go because of his wife, “Faith”.

And because of her, he can not carry out the errand any further. At this point the Devil agrees with him and tells him to turn back to prevent that “Faith should come to any harm” like the old woman in front of them on the path. Ironically, Goodman Brown’s faith is harmed because the woman on the path is the woman who “taught him his catechism in youth, and was still his moral and spiritual adviser. ” The Devil and the woman talk and afterward, Brown continues to walk on with the Devil in the disbelief of what he had just witnessed.

Ironically, he blames the woman for consorting with the Devil but his own pride stops him from realizing that his faults are the same as the woman’s. Brown again decides that he will no longer to continue on his errand and rationalizes that just because his teacher was not going to heaven, why should he “quit my dear Faith, and go after her”. At this, the Devil tosses Goodman Brown his staff (which will lead him out of his Eden) and leaves him. Goodman Brown begins to think to himself about his situation and his pride in himself begins to build.

He “applauds himself greatly, and thinking with how clear a conscience he should meet his minister… And what calm sleep would be his… in the arms of Faith! ” This is ironic because at the end of the story, he can not even look Faith in the eye, let alone sleep in her arms. As Goodman Brown is feeling good about his strength in resisting the Devil, he hears the voices of the minister and Deacon Gookin. He overhears their conversation and hears them discuss a “goodly young woman to be taken in to communion” that evening at that night’s meeting and fears that it may be his Faith.

When Goodman Brown hears this he becomes weak and falls to the ground. He “begins to doubt whether there really was a Heaven above him” and this is a key point when Goodman Brown’s faith begins to wain. Goodman Brown in panic declares that “With Heaven above, and Faith below, I will yet stand firm against the devil! ” Again, Brown makes a promise to keep his faith unto God. Then “a black mass of cloud” goes in between Brown and the sky as if to block his prayer from heaven. Brown then hears what he believed to be voices that he has before in the community.

Once Goodman Brown begins to doubt whether this is really what he had heard or not, the sound comes to him again and this time it is followed by “one voice, of a young woman”. Goodman believes this is Faith and he yells out her name only to be mimicked by the echoes of the forest, as if his calls to Faith were falling on deaf ears. A pink ribbon flies through the air and Goodman grabs it. At this moment, he has lost all faith in the world and declares that there is “no good on earth. ” Young Goodman Brown in this scene is easily manipulated simply by the power of suggestion.

The suggestion that the woman in question is his Faith, and because of this, he easily loses his faith. Goodman Brown then loses all of his inhibitions and begins to laugh insanely. He takes hold of the staff which causes him to seem to “fly along the forest-path”. This image alludes to that of Adam and Eve being led out of the Garden of Eden as is Goodman Brown being led out of his utopia by the Devil’s snakelike staff. Hawthorne at this point remarks about “the instinct that guides mortal man to evil”. This is a direct statement from the author that he believes that man’s natural inclination is to lean to evil than good.

Goodman Brown had at this point lost his faith in God, therefore there was nothing restraining his instincts from moving towards evil because he had been lead out from his utopian image of society. At this point, Goodman Brown goes mad and challenges evil. He feels that he will be the downfall of evil and that he is strong enough to overcome it all. This is another demonstration of Brown’s excessive pride and arrogance. He believes that he is better than everyone else in that he alone can destroy evil. Brown then comes upon the ceremony which is setup like a perverted Puritan temple.

The altar was a rock in the middle of the congregation and there were four trees surrounding the congregation with their tops ablaze, like candles. A red light rose and fell over the congregation which cast a veil of evil over the congregation over the devil worshippers. Brown starts to take notice of the faces that he sees in the service and he recognizes them all, but he then realizes that he does not see Faith and “hope came into his heart”. This is the first time that the word “hope” ever comes into the story and it is because this is the true turning point for Goodman Brown.

If Faith was not there, as he had hoped, he would not have to live alone in his community of heathens, which he does not realize that he is already apart of. Another way that the hope could be looked at is that it is all one of “the Christian triptych”. (Capps 25) The third part of the triptych which is never mentioned throughout the story is charity. If Brown had had “charity” it would have been the “antidote that would have allowed him to survive without despair the informed state in which he returned to Salem. ” (Camps 25) The ceremony then begins with a a cry to “Bring forth the converts!

Surprisingly Goodman Brown steps forward. “He had no power to retreat one step, nor to resist, even in thought… “. Goodman Brown at this point seems to be in a trance and he loses control of his body as he is unconsciously entering this service of converts to the devil. The leader of the service than addresses the crowd of converts in a disturbing manner. He informs them that all the members of the congregation are the righteous, honest, and incorruptible of the community. The sermon leader then informs the crowd of their leader’s evil deeds such as attempted murder of the spouse and wife, adultery, and obvious blasphemy.

After his sermon, the leader informs them to look upon each other and Goodman Brown finds himself face to face with Faith. The leader begins up again declaring that “Evil is the nature of mankind” and he welcomes the converts to “communion of your race”. (The “communion of your race” statement reflects to the irony of Brown’s earlier statement that he comes from “a race of honest men and good Christians. “) The leader than dips his hand in the rock to draw a liquid from it and “to lay the mark of baptism upon their foreheads”.

Brown than snaps out from his trance and yells “Faith! Faith! Look up to Heaven and resist the wicked one! ” At this, the ceremony ends and Brown finds himself alone. He does not know whether Faith, his wife, had kept her faith, but he finds himself alone which leads him to believe that he is also alone in his faith. Throughout the story, Brown lacks emotion as a normal person would have had. The closest Brown comes to showing an emotion is when “a hanging twig, that had been all on fire, besprinkled his cheek with the coldest dew.

The dew on his cheek represents a tear that Brown is unable to produce because of his lack of emotion. Hawthorne shows that Brown has “no compassion for the weaknesses he sees in others, no remorse for his own sin, and no sorrow for his loss of faith. ” (Easterly 339) His lack of remorse and compassion “condemns him to an anguished life that is spiritually and emotionally dissociated. ” (Easterly 341) This scene is an example of how Goodman Brown chose to follow his head rather than his heart. Had Brown followed his heart, he may have still lived a good life.

If he followed with his heart, he would have been able to sympathize with the community’s weaknesses, but instead, he listened to his head and excommunicated himself from the community because he only thought of them as heathens. “Young Goodman Brown” ends with Brown returning to Salem at early dawn and looking around like a “bewildered man. ” He cannot believe that he is in the same place that he just the night before; because to him, Salem was no longer home. He felt like an outsider in a world of Devil worshippers and because his “basic means of order, his religious system, is absent, the society he was familiar with becomes nightmarish. Shear 545) He comes back to the town “projecting his guilt onto those around him. ” (Tritt 114) Brown expresses his discomfort with his new surroundings and his excessive pride when he takes a child away from a blessing given by Goody Cloyse, his former Catechism teacher, as if he were taking the child “from the grasp of the fiend himself. ” His anger towards the community is exemplified when he sees Faith who is overwhelmed with excitement to see him and he looks “sternly and sadly into her face, and passed on without a greeting.

Brown cannot even stand to look at his wife with whom he was at the convert service with. He feels that even though he was at the Devil’s service, he is still better than everyone else because of his excessive pride. Brown feels he can push his own faults on to others and look down at them rather than look at himself and resolve his own faults with himself. Goodman Brown was devastated by the discovery that the potential for evil resides in everybody. The rest of his life is destroyed because of his inability to face this truth and live with it.

The story, which may have been a dream, and not a real life event, planted the seed of doubt in Brown’s mind which consequently cut him off from his fellow man and leaves him alone and depressed. His life ends alone and miserable because he was never able to look at himself and realize that what he believed were everyone else’s faults were his as well. His excessive pride in himself led to his isolation from the community. Brown was buried with “no hopeful verse upon his tombstone; for his dying hour was gloom. “

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter: Light and Darkness

Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter is one of the most analyzed and most discussed literary works in American literature and for good reason. Hawthornes ambiguity and his intense use of symbols have made this work incredibly complex and incredibly bothersome. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses many symbols to give insight into characters and promote his views on society. The scaffold scenes in The Scarlet Letter tell the reader exactly what is to come, and the presence of light in those scenes gives the reader insight into the characters.

The scaffold scenes establish a pattern of what is to come in the novel through a common tie prevalent in the three different scaffold scenes. The tie is that of creation and release. In the first scaffold scene, Hester releases not only her guilt about her crime, but, she also releases Pearl to the society and creates in Pearl the need for strength and determination that she will need to overcome the legacy of her creation. In this scene she also creates the need in Dimmesdale to absolve himself of his guilt.

The second scaffold scene is the opportunity for Dimmesdale to attempt to release his guilt from the first scaffold. However, Pearl creates a need in Dimmesdale to repent in front of the town. During the third scaffold scene, Dimmesdale is able to release his guilt about his crime and his lack of strength. He is also able to complete his obligation to accept the hands of Pearl and Hester on the platform from the second scaffold scene. Through his confession, he creates a sense of reality for the entire town.

It can be clearly seen that what is created in the first scaffold is released in the second scaffold; while, the things created in the second scaffold are finally released in the third and final scaffold. There is another complexity to the scaffold scenes in the presence, or lack there of, of lighting. The first scaffold scene is in the sunlight. The sunlight in this novel is a symbol of disguise. In the sunlight of the first scaffold, Hester is shown as strong and determined. She gives the appearance that the letter does not bother her. However, later in the novel we learn her true feelings as to the letter:

The effect of the symbol–or, rather, of the position in respect to society that was indicated by it–on the mind of Hester Prynne herself was powerful and peculiar. All the light and foliage of her character had been withered up by this red-hot brand, and had long ago fallen away The darkness in this book is a symbol of reality and truth. The second scaffold scene is a perfect example of this symbol. In the first and third scaffold scenes, Dimmesdale gives the appearance of a devout holy man who, although not physically strong, is emotionally pure.

In the second scaffold scene, Dimmesdales inability to confront the people that trust him, his absence of strength, and inability to admit to his guilt are clearly shown. This is the real Arthur Dimmesdale. This use of lighting is prevalent in other Hawthorne stories as well. In Hawthornes short story “Young Goodman Brown,” Similar lighting and darkness symbols are used. In the darkness of the forest, the true nature of the people that Goodman Brown looked up to and respected was revealed to him.

He is only capable of seeing their hypocritical flawed nature when in the darkness. When he had encountered them in the light of day, he believed the others in the town to be unadulterated, and strong of character. In this way, Hawthorne has used darkness to say to the reader that the way the characters are perceived in darkness is who they really are. Hawthorne foreshadows exactly what is to come in The Scarlet Letter through the scaffold scenes. He creates problems in one scene that he answers in the next scene until the conclusion in the final scaffold scene.

Also, Hawthorne cleverly adds lighting and darkness to give insight into each character. It is interesting how this seems to diverge from the contemporary stereotypes of light and darkness. Contemporary stereotypes would suggest that truth is light and darkness is deceit. These contemporary stereotypes are illustrated with death in horror movies appearing only at night and with angels and gods in books appearing in a burst of light. The way that Hawthorne flips this stereotype and creates a novel in which light is a disguise is utterly amazing.

The book The Scarlet Letter

In the book The Scarlet Letter we read about the sins the major adult characters commit, as well as the consequences of their vices. Hester Prynne commits adultery and is therefore doomed to wear the scarlet letter upon her breast for eternity. Being Hesters partner in sin Arthur Dimmesdale must cloak his guilt. Lastly, we have Roger Chillingworth who is the embodiment of evil and tries to reveal the Reverends sin out of vengeance. Hester Prynne, the first major character that we are introduced to, starts off on the town scaffold with an infant of three months in her arms.

Already we are shown one of the consequences of Hesters sin, her child. Hester is also forced to stand upon the scaffold for three hours for the town to see her blazon with the scarlet letter. She also must wear the letter for the rest of her life according to the judgment handed down to her from the town magistrates. Not only is Hester forced to live with the scarlet letter, she must also die with it. On her tombstone a bright red “A” is superimposed in the background.

Next in the saga, we have the amiable Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. A good clergyman that believes in the word of god strongly but he still commits lechery with Hester. He is commiserative of his sin but cannot reveal it for fear of losing his standing in the church and the high standing among the townspeople. The concealment of the sin eats away at him inside and he punishes himself with bloody scourges; sleepless nights; long periods of starving; and, according to some people, an engraved letter A over his heart.

Finally we have the devilish Roger Chillingworth. To say that revenge was like a hobby for Chillingworth is quite the understatement, he made a career out of it. He lived to reveal Hesters partner in sin at all costs. As soon as he realizes that it is Dimmesdale, he makes it a priority to play constant mind games with Arthur in hopes to cause a mental breakdown. But he didnt really accomplish what he was trying to do.

He wanted to keep playing games with Arthur until he got tired of it and then reveal Arthurs sin to the townspeople almost like a cat plays with a mouse it is about to consume. Arthur reveals his secret to the town on the scaffold and dies. Dimmesdale loses his purpose in life and dies within a year of Arthur. Chillingworth also lies about his identity to carry out his plan to reveal who the other sinner is. Each character committed different sins, and the consequences each character received were varying in

Light and Darkness in The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is one of the most analyzed and most discussed literary works in American literature and for good reason. Hawthorne’s ambiguity and his intense use of symbols have made this work incredibly complex and incredibly bothersome. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses many symbols to give insight into characters and promote his views on society. The scaffold scenes in The Scarlet Letter tell the reader exactly what is to come, and the presence of light in those scenes gives the reader insight into the characters.

The scaffold scenes establish a pattern of what is to come in the novel through a common tie prevalent in the three different scaffold scenes. The tie is that of creation and release. In the first scaffold scene, Hester releases not only her guilt about her crime, but, she also releases Pearl to the society and creates in Pearl the need for strength and determination that she will need to overcome the legacy of her creation. In this scene she also creates the need in Dimmesdale to absolve himself of his guilt.

The second scaffold scene is the opportunity for Dimmesdale to attempt to release his guilt from the first scaffold. However, Pearl creates a need in Dimmesdale to repent in front of the town. During the third scaffold scene, Dimmesdale is able to release his guilt about his crime and his lack of strength. He is also able to complete his obligation to accept the hands of Pearl and Hester on the platform from the second scaffold scene. Through his confession, he creates a sense of reality for the entire town.

It can be clearly seen that what is created in the first caffold is released in the second scaffold; while, the things created in the second scaffold are finally released in the third and final scaffold. There is another complexity to the scaffold scenes in the presence, or lack there of, of lighting. The first scaffold scene is in the sunlight. The sunlight in this novel is a symbol of disguise. In the sunlight of the first scaffold, Hester is shown as strong and determined. She gives the appearance that the letter does not bother her. However, later in the novel we learn her true feelings as to the letter:

The effect of the symbol–or, rather, of the position in respect to society that was indicated by it–on the mind of Hester Prynne herself was powerful and peculiar. All the light and foliage of her character had been withered up by this red-hot brand, and had long ago fallen away… The darkness in this book is a symbol of reality and truth. The second scaffold scene is a perfect example of this symbol. In the first and third scaffold scenes, Dimmesdale gives the appearance of a devout holy man who, although not physically strong, is emotionally pure.

In the second scaffold scene, Dimmesdale’s inability to confront the people that trust him, his absence of strength, and inability to admit to his guilt are clearly shown. This is the real Arthur Dimmesdale. This use of lighting is prevalent in other Hawthorne stories as well. In Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown,” Similar lighting and darkness symbols are used. In the darkness of the forest, the true nature of the people that Goodman Brown looked up to and respected was revealed to him. He is only capable of seeing their hypocritical flawed ature when in the darkness.

When he had encountered them in the light of day, he believed the others in the town to be unadulterated, and strong of character. In this way, Hawthorne has used darkness to say to the reader that the way the characters are perceived in darkness is who they really are. Hawthorne foreshadows exactly what is to come in The Scarlet Letter through the scaffold scenes. He creates problems in one scene that he answers in the next scene until the conclusion in the final scaffold scene.

Also, Hawthorne cleverly adds lighting and darkness to give insight into each character. It is interesting how this seems to diverge from the contemporary stereotypes of light and darkness. Contemporary stereotypes would suggest that truth is light and darkness is deceit. These contemporary stereotypes are illustrated with death in horror movies appearing only at night and with angels and gods in books appearing in a burst of light. The way that Hawthorne flips this stereotype and creates a novel in which light is a disguise is utterly amazing.

Reoccurring Themes and Symbols at Nathaniel Hawthorne works

Reoccurring Themes and Symbols in Different Works by Nathaniel Hawthorne It is no secret that Nathaniel Hawthornes The Ministers Black Veil is a parable. Hawthorne intended it as such and even gave the story the subtitle a parable. The Ministers Black Veil, however, was not Hawthornes only parable. Hawthorne often used symbols and figurative language to give added meaning to the literal interpretations of his work. His Puritan ancestry also influenced much of Hawthornes work. Instead of agreeing with Puritanism however, Hawthorne would criticize it through the symbols and themes in his stories and parables.

Several of these symbols and themes reoccur in Hawthornes The Ministers Black Veil, Young Goodman Brown, and The Scarlet Letter. One particularly noticeable theme in Hawthornes work is that of secret sin (Newman 338). In the Young Goodman Brown, this theme is evident when young Mr. Brown dreams that he is led by the devil to a witching party. There he sees all of the honorable and pious members of society, including his minister and the woman who taught him his catechisms, communing with the prince of darkness.

Upon awakening, the hypocritical nature of his once admired neighbors and the realization of his own secret sin causes him to become terribly disillusioned (Colacurcio 396). The same thing happens in The Ministers Black Veil, except the reader does not know exactly what secret sin makes Reverend Hooper begin to don the black veil. Many scholars believe that this has something to do with the funeral of the young lady at the beginning of the story.

The opinions range from believing that Reverend Hooper loved the girl in secret, to Poes believe that Reverend Hooper may have actually been the cause of the girls death (Newman 204). Whatever the reason, the ministers wearing of the veil taints his view of everyone else around him, making all of them look like they are wearing veils as well (Hawthorne 107). Dimmesdales secret sin with Hester Prynne is admitted at the end of the story, but the theme of secret sin is not as used as strongly in this novel as it was in Hawthornes stories (Dryden 147).

However, two of the main themes in The Scarlet Letter are visible in both of the other stories. The first is the corruption of the clergy. In The Scarlet Letter, Reverend Dimmesdale is a good pastor. He is not, however, the Puritan ideal of what a pastor should be. He is human, and gives in to human desires when he sleeps with Hester Prynne. Both Reverend Hooper and the minister in Young Goodman Brown are corrupt as well. Reverend Hoopers sins with the deceased young lady are hinted at, but still ambiguous.

The minister in Young Goodman Brown is a much better example of corrupt clergy. He is in attendance at the witches meeting just one day before he would go before his congregation and preach the word of God. This is no doubt another reflection of Hawthornes belief in the hypocrisy of Puritanism. Another element common in these three works by Hawthorne is the way that sin ostracizes one from society. In The Scarlet Letter, Hesters is branded with a symbol of her sin, so her separation from society is forced as a form of punishment.

She is not physically removed from society, but she will never again be able to play the same role in society that she once played. Everyone else, neglecting to look inside their heart at their own sin, condemns Hester for her adultery and turns their back to her. In Young Goodman Brown, Mr. Brown voluntarily chooses to cut himself off from human love and companionship (Hawthorne 75). However, while Hesters neighbors turn their back on her because of her adultery, Mr. Brown ostracizes himself because he is sickened by the hypocrisy that he knows is present in the lives of the people around him.

Finally, the veil worn by Reverend Hooper in The Ministers Black Veil separates him from society, and from God (Dryden 138). Whether this separation is voluntary or imposed depends on how one looks at the situation. It is voluntary in that Reverend Hooper knows that his wearing the veil will cause people to avoid him, and yet he wears in anyway. It is imposed in that Revered Hooper would really prefer to be treated normally by his neighbors and parishioners. Either way, he is ostracized because he wears a symbol of sin, much like Hester (Newman 202).

The messages differ somewhat in each of these stories, but they are the same in the attitude that they show towards Puritanism. What Hawthorne wants the reader to draw from the stories is not so much that adultery is bad or that secret sin is bad. The message is really that the Puritan reaction to sin is wrong. Hawthorne would have said that people should investigate the private sin in their own life before they went around condemning other people for their sin that became public. Before condemning someone else for wearing a black veil, you should remember that you wear one as well (Hawthorne 107).

Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Young Goodman Brown”

Goodman Brown was not asleep in this short story. As I read, I believed that Goodman did indeed meet the devil in the forest. If he had indeed dreamt about the trip he was sent on and meeting the devil, I think his nervousness would have been described in more detail then it was. Concentrating more on the anxiety he was feeling would have led the reader to believe that the events were not real. I also saw this story as an allegory. I saw the allegory after reading the story two times. I think it is centered on Goodman Brown having a bumpy past and that he wants to go beyond his past and reach heaven.

The characters names also show the religious allegory in the story. The names Goodman and Faith are used and the characters are then soon faced with terrifying evil. I think that Goodman Brown and his wife, Faith’s names symbolize that they are good, religious people and that Goodman is making up everyone being evil in his head. I found an essay by Alexa Carlson that described the symbolism in light vs. dark, forest vs. town, nature vs. human, and fantasy vs. reality. In her paper, Essay #1: Young Goodman Brown, she states that “…fantasy vs. eality are employed to reinforce the idea that good and evil have been set up as strict categories into which no one, not even the religious figures of the community, fit neatly. ”

As she later writes, if Hawthorne was apprehensive about “what he considers right and wrong in terms of human behavior, I think he would have spend more time building up his tragic end. ” “Young Goodman Brown” was a pretty sad story because he was happy with all the locals and his faith until the trip came into Goodman Brown’s life. Goodman is pure going into the forest, but in a sense comes out of the forest somewhat evil.

He comes back thinking he is better than everyone else and ends up isolating himself to lead a very lonely life. Source: Carlson, Alexa. Essay #1: Young Goodman Brown. www. crwl. utexas. edu Nathaniel Hawthorne, “My Kinsman, Major Molineaux” I read some information about Nathaniel Hawthorne’s life and then thinking back to this story, I see his life somewhat reflected in the main character. I saw him relating himself to Robin and parallel the emotions and similarities to that of his own life. I remember reading that Hawthorne locked himself up in a room for twelve years and completely isolated himself from the people around him.

In “My Kinsman, Major Molineaux”, Robin is given a lesson and isolated from the group of the new colony. He leads himself to his own misery and disrespect because he recognized himself as a kinsman and wanted something back. Both Hawthorne and Robin face the problem of being accepted by society. They both had their shares of complications and complexity fitting in with their surroundings. The first paragraph of the story is there to let you know something. There is a hint hidden in the paragraph about the fate of Major Molineaux. He states that uprisings are beginning to occur in the colonies.

Robin is an 18 year old who travels across the ocean to see Major Molineaux. He seems confident that all will work out even though he does not know where his uncle lives. He goes with little money and asks where Major Molineaux lives. His first attempt to find his uncle is a disappointment. All the people he asks are mean to him but he still keeps looking. From the story, I get that Robin does not really want to find Major Molineaux. Once he sees his uncle tarred and feathered, he starts laughing and realizing how much he has grown from his trip. The older people in the story seem to be really mean.

I think they have a greater hatred toward Major Molineaux. The man Robin sees with the black and red face scares him. I think the red and black represent danger and anger and possibly evil. The danger could represent either that the mob is supposed to be something evil or that the mob represents the violent changes that place as the Revolutionary War approaches. Robin seems to be very ignorant also because he is a country boy and has just seen the harsh city life. Edgar Allan Poe, “The Cask of Amontillado” In “The Cask of Amontillado”, Montressor wants to seek revenge on Fortunado.

Montressor lures him into the vaults by telling him about the rare cask of Amontillado he has found down there. Montressor tells Fortunado that he would have had him check out the wine but he had a previous engagement, so he would be asking Luchesi for the favor. In an article I found on the Internet, the writer told about Montressor’s ability to get Fortunado to fall for his trick. ( www. poedecoder. com/essays/cask/ ) He wrote, “Montressor was careful not to arouse Fortunado’s suspicions”. This was Montressor’s “perfect plan of retribution”.

He was planning the death of Fortunado and Fortunado fell for the trap that Montressor had planned. Montressor is the narrator of Poe’s great story. There is also irony in this short story. Montressor realizes what he is about to do to Fortunado the further along the go into the vaults. The characters name, Fortunado, also plays with irony by the fact that he is less than fortunate in this occasion. I also saw irony when Montressor and Fortunado were drinking some wine before they got to the Amontillado. Montressor toasted to Fortunado’s long life, when he knew that his life would be over very soon.

I did not see the symbolism in the motto or the coat of arms but in the website mentioned above, they did however show me. The symbolism in the coat of arms and the motto was “of Montressor’s evil character, who like the serpent intends to get revenge. ” The foreshadowing laid in the first sentence of the story. “The thousands of injuries of Fortunado I had borne as best I could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. ” From this sentence, you can clearly see that someone in the story is going to be hurt in someway. Nevertheless, Montressor felt guilty in the end.

When Fortunado went into the deep end of the crypt, Montressor heard him screaming and he began to tremble. I think he realized what he did and felt he had done a terrible thing. Also, at the very end of the story, Montressor narrated, “In peace may he rest”. If he wished him peace in his death, why would he have killed him? Seems to me like he was a little guilty. Source: www. poedecoder. com Ambrose Bierce, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” takes place during the American Civil War that was fought in the 1860’s. The United States was divided over the issue of slavery.

The Northern States wanted an end to come from slavery and the South wanted to keep slavery alive to ensure low labor and production costs. In the short story there was a bit of symbolism played out. The line “Mrs. Farquhar was only too happy to serve him with her own white hands”, symbolizes her hands for the white Southern wealthy plantation owners and politicians who were stubbornly willing to divide the country. The Southern people would have rather allowed Americans to kill one another in a war, rather than choosing to resolve differences between North and South by ending slavery and giving freedom back to black Americans.

Ambrose Bierce wrote with a lot of fantastic imagery. The imagery he used seemed to build the suspense near the end of the story. The images he portrayed were strange, yet peaceful and hopeful. Then suddenly he hits readers with gunfire and pain. For example, to heighten the suspense he used bizarre passages such as “black bodies of the trees” and “no fields bordered it, no dwelling anywhere”. The reader gets to ride along with Peyton during this dramatic imagery. You go from the threat of death, to beautiful images of life, to images of a wonderful afterlife, to pain, and finally to the arms of his wife.

Peyton Farquhar died in the end. I saw that as a symbol of being killed because of the deceitful and weak Southern upper classes. Peyton was a “well-to-do planter, of an old and highly respected Alabama family”. They wouldn’t give up their wealth but others could be killed, even if they were respected Southerners. Guy de Maupassant, “The Necklace” A short summary of “The Necklace” is that Mme. Loisel was ashamed to go to a party without proper jewels around her neck. She did not want to look poor, like her husband and her were. She borrowed a friend’s necklace and proceeded to lose the necklace at the end of the night.

She bought a new necklace for thirty six thousand francs and returned it to Mme. Forestier. Mme. Loisel and her husband spent the next ten years working extremely hard to pay off the necklace only to find that the necklace Mme. Loisel borrowed was a fake and was not worth near the amount the spent on the new necklace. I saw the irony in the story in Mme. Forestier and the plaster necklace. When Mme. Loisel returned the necklace to Mme. Forestier, she didn’t hesitate to look at the lovely necklace and make sure there was nothing wrong with it.

If it had been a prize possession, she would probably have opened the case and made sure there were no scratches or jewels missing. Obviously, Mme. Forestier wasn’t concerned about the shape of the so-called plaster necklace. Another part I saw irony in was when Mme. Loisel was looking through Mme. Forestier’s jewels. Mme. Forestier took her large jewelry box out of her wardrobe while the other necklace was sitting out in a black box. Mme. Loisel also went through thousands of bracelets and necklaces of fine quality. Those pieces of jewelry weren’t good enough for her and then she settles on the plaster necklace.

Guy de Maupassant was connected with the Ministry of Public Instruction. Interesting enough, Monsieur Loisel was employed at the Ministry of Public Instruction. Maupassant wrote very classically and simply. He avoided social commentary at all risks. While he was writing, he liked to right about the real world and show everyone that he was well informed about it. ( www. members. tripod. com/KisnerD/guyde. htm ) I think this story fit his description very well. It was very realistic and sounds like something that could happen to anyone. Source: www. members. tripod. om Kate Chopin, “Desiree’s Baby” Kate Chopin wrote great short stories. Many say her works imitated Guy de Maupassant’s.

Her style in “Desiree’s Baby” imitates his by escaping from traditional short stories and writing something new and free. Chopin wrote what she saw. The plots in her stories were well organized and ended with critical acts, somewhat like Maupassant’s. In “Desiree’s Baby”, light and dark symbolism were used. The first light/dark symbol I read was the description of L’Abri, Desiree and Armand’s house. Madame Valmonde shuddered at the sight of it.

The house was “…a sad looking place,” and that starts to make you realize there is not a lot of happiness inside, though they perceive to be happy. As Madame Valmonde gets closer to the house, she describes it in more detail. “Big, solemn oaks grew close to it, and their thick-leaved, far-reaching branches shadowed it like a pall. ” This is a dark symbol for what is about to happen in the house between Desiree and Armand. He will find out not just too much about his wife but also about himself and the house will go under. I see a light symbol on Desiree when Madame Valmonde comes to visit her and the baby.

Desiree is wearing all white and lace. She is so happy with her life and is so pure. She will only find out later that her life isn’t as pure as she thought it would be. In the second paragraph of the story, the narrator tells a crucial part of the story. “Why, it seemed but yesterday that Desiree was little more than a baby herself; when Monsieur in riding through the gateway of Valmonde had found her lying asleep in the shadow of the big stone pillar. ” I see this sentence foreshadowing the ending by letting you know that she was not the Valmonde’s child. Desiree was lying in the shadow of the pillar.

I think that foreshadows that she was a child with a secret and the Valmonde’s tried to keep it hid until the day the child’s skin started turning brown. Also, Chopin describes Armand as having a “dark, handsome face”. This also foreshadows the end as Armand finds the letter his mother wrote that she was part black. William Sydney Porter, “The Gift of the Magi” “The Gift of the Magi” is very similar to “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant. The characters in both stories think money is more important than their loved ones. They do not see the sentimental value of things.

All they see is the cash value. They were also different in the fact that they gave up completely different things. Mme. Loisel gave up ten years of her life to pay for the necklace. Della gave up her lovely hair and Jim gave up his prized watch. Della and Jim can eventually get back what they gave up, but Mme. Loisel can never gain ten years back on her life. What she gave up was much more expensive. In the beginning of the story, Della was crying and sobbing because she did not have enough money to buy Jim a present for Christmas, which was the next day. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating. ”

I see this as foreshadowing exactly what would happen throughout the story. Della started of in tears and then mopped around a little bit. She thought of her crazy idea to cut off her hair for money. Once she got her haircut off and had the money, she was so happy to buy Jim a present. They exchanged presents only to find that Jim bought her a brush set and she bought him a chain for the watch he sold for her brushes.

Once again, she cried because they gave up their lovely possessions for each other and had nothing to do with their new presents. Stephen Crane, “The Open Boat” “The Open Boat” is a dramatic short story based on Stephen Crane’s own real-life experience. In this short story, Crane provided biographical facts and also added a lot of description. In the story there are a lot of psychological meanings of the experience and its effects on those people involved. I found an article dedicated to the concept of naturalism being applied to “The Open Boat”.

The article is by Jason Voegele and I found it on the Internet. As the story begins there are four main characters we meet. Crane goes into great detail to describe not only these four men, but also what lies around them. Voegele wrote that the “opening scenes show right away the antagonism of the men and the sea and nature’s lack of concern for their tragedy”. Even though the four men are in a terrible situation, nothing else in the nature world changes to help them. Things do not work like that. The men think nature is taking its toll on them as they keep getting into worse situations.

It is just the way the world turns and things will always happen that you don’t want to happen. The men begin to lose hope in their survival due to the pounding they are getting from the earth. “If this wind holds and the boat don’t swap, we can’t do much else”, is a statement from the captain. He has given up also. They feel they are up against a wall and can’t climb over. They all feel the lack of concern from the world around them. Voegele also writes that Crane “now understands what it is to be human; that constant striving in the face of futility, and that need for others that ultimately none of us can deny”.

The reality in the story seems a bit harsh in the beginning, but it becomes evidence of the characters human spirit in the end. The main conflict is human vs. nature. A single human life is insignificant in respect to the rest of the world. Source: www. jvoegele. com/essays/openboat. html Willa Cather, “Paul’s Case” Paul seemed to me to be a boy who really needed good attention. His father emotionally abused him and he was looked down upon at school. All he really needed was someone who would just listen to him and talk to him like he was normal.

Even though he was a problem child, I ended up liking Paul in the end of the story. I don’t know if it was a pity liking or what. You can’t help but feel sorry for someone who has lost their mother, who’s father abuses them, and who wants to make their life better but is stuck where they are. I also don’t think he had any learning disability either. I just think that he didn’t get the right chance because everyone looked down upon him like he was the devils spawn. People were not willing to give Paul a chance. On a website I found, the article could not agree more.

They also had written that his teachers misunderstood Paul because he didn’t fully understand some of the harder lessons. In the article, they wrote about how Paul’s teachers “made Paul feel as if he were inferior to the other students, and that he was not worthy of their extra time for tutoring sessions, which only further discouraged Paul from wanting to learn. ” ( www. geocities. com ) I could not agree more. The teachers did not want to spend to time to help the poor child learn and that only pushed him further away and made him a more disgruntled child. Paul’s death was very sad to me.

He led such a terrible and lonely life only to end his life at his own will. I don’t know how you could kill yourself but then I kind of feel for the poor kid. I guess if I put myself in the situation of having my mother dead, my father abusing me, and having nobody want me to succeed, I wouldn’t want to live either. His life was very bleak. In the same article mentioned above they made a very good statement about Paul’s death; “One must wonder if Paul ever had a chance of not committing suicide with the life he led. Perhaps it was the only way out for him. ” Perhaps that is true.

His life was so bleak and miserable that the only way of ending the day-to-day pain was to end his life. Sad but true. Source: www. geocities. com/Athens/Oracle/4925/main. html D. H. Lawrence, “Odour of Chrysanthemums” “Odour of Chrysanthemums” is about a coal miner and his wife. Elizabeth is awaiting her husband, the coal miner, to come home. They seem to already have some problems but she still is very concerned were he is at. He is late and she is expecting him to come home drunk. As she awaits his arrival home, she sits and thinks deeply about their relationship. She keeps a good attitude about it for the sake of their children.

She doesn’t want them to see that anything is wrong. Later his mother brings her the bad news. She tells Elizabeth that there had been an accident and her husband had suffocated. They bring his dead body to the house for the ladies to clean up. I think that is terrible to have the family of the dead man, clean him. That is pure suffrage. The story brings out that in the remainder of the story. Elizabeth goes through many different emotions while washing him. She becomes very inquisitive, and then angry, and then she fills with sympathy, forgiveness, and cool consideration.

She sees that her and her husband had long ago rejected something deep within the other, and that they had lived utterly separate lives. At the end of the story, Elizabeth is “grateful to death, which restored the truth. ” Elizabeth’s emotional turmoil is very convincing. I would have never seen the turmoil coming from her because of her actions in the beginning of the story. The chrysanthemums in the story symbolize Elizabeth’s emotions. I see the chrysanthemum as a terrible sign to Elizabeth. I think that it means that the flower reminds her of the misery in her life.

It reminds her of her terrible marriage and her drunken husband. I also see it as the chrysanthemums odor smothering her somewhat like her husband was smothered by the coal fall. The odor of the chrysanthemums was so strong and overwhelming that it reminded her of her husband and his overwhelming power. Elizabeth’s final thoughts in the story are pretty deep. She hides his dead body in the parlor so the children would not see. Elizabeth also seems to have a realization that she is powerless to control her life at all. She thought that now that life “was her immediate master. She seems almost afraid to know that death has captivated her household and had a hold of her.

She seems very afraid because of “death, her ultimate master. ” James Joyce, “Araby” This story carries a great deal of character in it. I had to read it twice to get the full effect of what the story really was bringing to my attention. First of all, I gathered from the information that this was a religious story by the names used in the beginning of the story. James Joyce uses names like Christian Brothers School in the first paragraph and gives the reader an insight of what the community the boy lives in is like.

The boy in the story also gives great detail to the late priest. Another way to realize that this was a religious story was to pay attention to the way the boy treated his family. He had a lot of respect for his family and he partly showed it by waiting patiently for his uncle to arrive home. He had to ask for permission and some money. Epiphany is a sudden surprise that the true nature of the character comes out during an exact moment. I saw the epiphany come out at the very end of the story when the boy went to the bazaar. He had planned to buy his obsession something while he was there.

He arrived at the bazaar only to have a change of heart. The boy realized that he had been overcome with this girl and in the meantime became obsessed with vanity. In an article I found, Diana Mak, wrote, “The boy had come up to the point of enlightenment and disillusionment. ” ( www. members. nbci. com ) He went to the fair in search for a prize but instead he saw what this girl had done to him and he felt nothing but “anguish and anger. ” The boy thought that he could buy the love of this girl by buying her something. He didn’t realize that he was overcome with arrogance just for this girl.

Source: www. members. nbci. com/_XMCM/dianamak/essay. htm Washington Irving, “Rip Van Winkle” This story has a lot of twists and turns. I was a little confused by the story at first until I found some articles to help me understand what the meaning of the story really was. These articles talked about how the story was an allegory for the changes in our country. I also found information about how Washington Irving took German folklore and added American scenes and events to add great depth into the story. There are many types of unique symbolism throughout the story.

These symbols let you know of the changes that are occurring in American society. Rip Van Winkle seemed to have gotten to take a break from the harsh changes that most Americans were feeling at the time. They went through the strife of a rapidly changing country, while Rip Van Winkle got to take a long, relaxing nap. In an article I found, it stated that “ Irving’s sociopolitical opinions do not become readily apparent until Rip wakes up from his sleep. Rip is confused and asks questions seeking his identity in the same way that the young country was seeking its identity.

Rip seeks the truth much as the new country was. ” ( www. cwrl. utexas. edu ) This is were I saw the allegory play into the short story. When Rip returned to the town, the sign that hung by the tavern had been changed. When he left the small town, the sign had a man with a crown and a scepter in his hand. After his return from the long nap, the sign was changed. The man in the earlier sign now had a large sword and cap instead of a crown. Source: www. cwrl. utexas. edu/daniel/amlit/rvw/tv. html Henry James, The Turn of the Screw The first thing I researched was why Henry James wrote his book in installments.

According to the web page, www. gradesaver. com, James had the book published at Collier and they decided to divide the story into five parts and publish them in twelve installments. Collier was a magazine and to boost his circulation and revenue, he published The Turn of the Screw. Doing it in installments kept people buying his magazine. Collier and James did, however, agree to publish the story as a whole when Collier was done publishing James’ work. James wrote this piece at a time in history when people were beginning to lose faith in their traditional religion.

People were looking everywhere for spiritual understanding and James found it perfect to write this and have people find spirituality in the world beyond. In the same article as mentioned above, the wrote how “people searched for a new way of understanding and accepting death. ” This seemed like the perfect way for James. The governess is the primary narrator in this The Turn of the Screw. She is a young lady who finds herself being the caretaker for two little children. The governess finds herself encountering the ghosts and struggles to fight for the souls of the children.

She cares for the two children, Flora and Miles. Miles was sent home from school for unknown reasons. It is hard to tell if the boy is just a terrible child or very smart and deviant. Flora is the sweet little girl whom is thought to be the one communicating with the ghost of Miss Jessel. In the prologue of the book, the opening reveals the origin of the book’s title. They are telling a ghost story were a child is visited by a ghost. Griffin then says that he will give the frightening tale one “turn of the screw. ” This makes the story into a ghost story.

One part of the book that I found hard to interpret was the end of the book. Miles death came as a great shock. I think that the governess simply frightened Miles to death or could have smothered him to death. Sure that may be hard to believe but that was the only reasonable explanation I could come up with. I saw foreshadowing in the story that brought me to believe that she smothered him. Miles was banished from school because of things he said. I assumed it was dirty language and he passed those words onto other children, including his own sister.

Flora probably did not learn the appalling language from the ghost of Miss Jessel but most likely from her own brother. In the article from www. gradesaver. com, they talk about the governess’ reaction to Miles and his confession. The governess was given adequate information about why Miles was expelled from school. They also talk about how “the governess’s behavior is having a dangerous effect on the boy. The sweating, hard breathing, and weakness she describes begin even before she tells the boy that Quint is present. ” The governess seems to get even more upset and then begins shaking the boy.

Internal Conflict in Nathaniel Hawthornes Young Goodman Brown

The central theme of Nathaniel Hawthornes Young Goodman Brown,is the conflict in Goodman Brown between joining the ranks of the devil and remaining good. It is a very difficult personal journey for Young Goodman Brown, as he travels through the woods to follow an inner desire to become a witch, all the while thinking on all of the good things (like his wife Faith) he would be leaving behind. This internal conflict ultimately destroys the Young Goodman Brown and creates a new man. Goodman Brown, a Puritan New Englander, in whatever way, and for whatever reason, made a deal with the Devil in the woods outside Salem.

He knows that this is morally wrong, and especially when he leaves his pink-ribboned Faith, this puts him in a quandary. Brown must decide, before he becomes part of the Black Sabbath and engages in devil worship, if his true passion lies in the woods, the land of evil, or if it lies in the innocence, fresh naivete, and youth he enjoyed in the village. There are many examples in the text of this conflict. Brown laments about the loss of his Faith, a theme which permeates the tale.

Also, Brown discusses his self-doubt after incidences such as his discovery of the true nature of people such as Goody Cloyse, the governor, and village minister. Browns reluctance to take the Devils snake-staff illustrate his misgivings about becoming one of the Devils chosen. Even the setting of the winding, long, journey through the woods demonstrates indecision and conflict, as Goodman Brown has to spend a prolonged time considering his actions. Young Goodman Browns personal conflict over his inner desires – and its greater meaning: conflict between good and evil in the world – is the center of the story.

There would be no Young Goodman Brown if not for the main characters personal struggle to decide what he will do. This is indirectly evidenced by the fact that nearly all reviews in critical journals of this story focus on the idea that Goodman Browns struggle over his personal passions has greater meaning. In the end, we can never be sure if good or evil won the fight waged within Young Goodman Brown, but Hawthorne makes it abundantly clear that Brown was scarred for life by his experience.

After returning to Salem from that fateful night, Goodman Brown becomes cynical; he no longer has any faith in his fellow townspeople. He has lost his innocence; he has lost his faith. His self-isolation, relationship with his wife, and the inscription on his tombstone after he returned to Salem all show that the conflict had a profound effect on his life. This conflict is the theme of the story, and reflects on the society of the time. It was very important to the life of the main character, A great change took place in Young Goodman Brown, and it altered his private passion forever.

Nathaniel Hawthorne honors Dante in ‘Young Goodman Brown’

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) wrote Young Goodman Brown in 1835 some 514 years after Dante Alighieri passing in 1321. It is a short story of only 10 pages of prose; yet, it captures the essence of the first three verses of La Divina Commedia. In fact I can say that his little story throw great light on the interpretation of these verses. Over the past seven centuries many great scholars have honed their talents to the text of La Divina Commedia but none seem so original as that of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s. This does not negate those previous or subsequent commentator’s insights for Dante work has many layers of interpretation.

See Mark Musa translation below: “Midway along the journey of our life I woke to find myself in a dark wood, for I had wandered off from the straight path. Hawthorne’s work came to me serendipitously. I actually had no idea that he was in anyway associated with Dante’s work. It is said that ‘Hawthorne’s neighbor and friend Herman Melville once said,’ “Young Goodman Brown is a tale as deep as Dante”. It is also known that Hawthorne was a friend of Henry Wadworth Longfellow one of the founders and the first president of the Dante Society of America.

Longerfeller would become president of the newly formed society some seventeen years after his friend’s death. I wonder if there was an earlier collaboration. I mentioned this, in passing, merely to point out that there must have been a deeper following of Dante’s works in America, then the first roster of the society’s membership would indicate, during the 19th century. I did find it interesting that Rev. Henry Francis Cary’s translation in 1814 uses the word “gloomy” in the second verse of La Divina Commedia: “I woke to find myself in a gloomy wood. ” Hawthorne’s last sentence in this short story is, “for his dying hour was gloom.

Many of La Divina Commedia’s translations up to the middle of the 20th century uses the words “gloomy wood” rather than “dark wood” so popular in the latter half of this century. The tale of Young Goodman Brown does not mention Dante’s name, or mention La Divina Commedia, though it becomes obvious this small work is a tribute and recognition of Dante’s genius. The story starts out idealistically on a Saturday morning when Young Goodman Brown leaving his house looks back and gives his wife, Faith, a kiss. He is on his way to a prearranged meeting and would not sleep in his bed that night.

His wife employs him to tarry till morning but he insists that he must ‘tarry away from her’. He teases her a bit, “What, my sweet, pretty wife, dost thou doubt me already, and we but three months married. ” He sees the concern on her face as melancholy. It is obvious she senses something amiss. Hawthorne has steeped his narrative in allegory and symbols. I chose Saturday as the departure date because the next day is Sunday when at the end of the tale he staggers back into town and sees the preacher preparing for services. As the story unfolds it becomes obvious that it is fate that has set up this meeting for him.

Considering the historical period of Hawthorne’s story, which was the early 19th century, when young men were apprenticed out to work until they met their obligation there was no time for a night out on the town. A young man in such an apprentice position could not afford it. He would have had to watch his reputation and his station in life. He was expected to go to bed at dusk and arise early in the morning before sunrise. Men normally did not marry until they could afford to. Young girls were chaperoned and their parents and guardians were careful to look into the reputations of the men they choose to wed.

Therefore, 25 years of age was not considered early or late in life for a man to get married. Saturday as the day for the setting of this narrative is the end of the workweek for most Christians of that era. It is also the day one would take a bath not as it is today where bathing is a daily ritual. Dressed up in clean attire a young man, being his own master, is ready to ‘paint the town red’ as the saying goes. It is surprising that he does not take the excellent advice that he gives to his wife, “Say thy prayers, dear Faith, and go to bed at dusk, and no harm will come to thee. It is interesting that this is the same model advice written in most almanacs of that period. Here he himself has the keys to salvation but consciously does not use them.

As Goodman Brown embarks upon his journey he knows that it is an evil mission he has embarked upon. This is in stark contrast to Dante finding himself in a dark wood. Dante knew not how he arrived in the woods. Being a neophyte in the ways of the world Goodman Brown questions, practically on the outset of his journey, what is behind the numerous trees of the forest he has entered. A new traveler through such a dark forest would not, of course, know these things.

This is reminiscence of the Bushman of Africa who knows precisely what is behind every boulder, tree, and bush in his forest in contrast to the White Hunter that comes into his world scared out of his wit and would not take a step without the Bushman’s guidance. Young Goodman Brown even reflects, “what if the devil himself should be at my very elbow! ” Catholic children are taught there is a devil on one shoulder and an angel on another to guide them through life. They better choose well. This phase hints at that religious idea as well as the narrative as a whole being Faith, his wife, was his angel.

The title of the story is prefaced with the word “Young” as opposed to an “Elderly” version of Goodman Brown? As the account unravel this would seem to be the case. Almost immediately after the remark about the “devil” he see his friend waiting for him. His friend immediately takes position at his side (elbow? ) as they walk off together he is immediately chided for being 15 minutes late. Goodman Brown plaints, “Faith kept me back awhile. ” This familiarity with his wife’s name to a stranger would be inappropriate on any occasion no less so on this one.

This more than hints at a longer relationship between the two men. But when did he even have the time to make the appointment being with his wife for three solid months? He lives in Salem Village and the meeting is in Boston. It is strange that the 15 minutes would be mentioned at all as was mentioned the three months that Goodman Brown had been married. If we were speaking coincidentally 15 minutes is one quarter of an hour as is three months one quarter of a year. Are we being asked to equate these two numerical oddities? Curiously how Nathaniel Hawthorne would weave these symbols so well into the account.

A marriage is the beginning of two people union as one. The date of the wedding is as the beginning of the first year of the union. If the marriage was to least 50 years, dissolved by one partner dying, halfway would be 25 years: “Midway this journey of our life. ” For example: equating this to the calendar year January 1st would be the wedding date. Three months later would be April 1st. This is the traditional date for the dawn of creation for both the Christ and the antichrist. Christ was conceived on this date and was born nine months later, December 25th.

Christ being circumcised eight days later would be Goodman Brown’s anniversary date. The symbolism in this allegorical story is incredible when equating the span of a year to the life of an individual. This allegorical narrative suggests the two roads taken. Faith, Goodman Brown’s wife, represent the spiritual or path of light and Goodman Brown represents the demonic or dark path. On April 1st it would seem they consummated the celebration of creation alone. When calculating this weekly ritual, of leaving the good wife home and taking off on one’s journey into the Boston night life, over the 24. 5 year span would come to exactly 1290. 5 nights away from home.

This, one night a week ritual, is not an uncommon activity for most men, even in our own era, so Goodman Brown becomes the archetypal symbol for all his male counterparts past, present, and future Notice how the 1290. 5 nights coincides with Dante’s Beatrice dying in June 1290 AD. Notice how Goodman Brown points out that he lost Faith. Here Hawthorne infers that Goodman Brown lost Faith on that first fatal night away from home not midway through their marriage.

He may well have come to terms with it midway through his life with her but his addiction began on that first night and it would build to a crescendo where it was not possible for him to put a stop to it. He had realized he lost her on the first night. If we are to equate the two one quarter spans of time as the same symbol Goodman Brown would never be late again. He was made to lament not keeping his appointment because of his honeymoon period, with his wife Faith, but that time is over with and will never be an excuse again. If Goodman Brown were 25 years of age when he married then 25 years later he would be 50 years of age.

The gentleman he met in the forest was 50 years of age. It is finally Hawthorne description of this individual that convincingly demonstrates it is the elderly Goodman Brown. It also points to Goodman Brown’s apprenticeship as a young man (“in the same rank of life”, “was as simply clad”, “and as simple in manner”). “As nearly as could be discerned, the second traveler was about fifty years old, papparently in the same rank of life as Goodman Brown, and bearing a considerable resemblance to him, though perhaps more in expression than features. Still, they might have been taken for father and son.

And yet, though the elder person was as simply clad as the younger, and as simple in manner too, he had an indescribable air of one who knew the world, and would not have felt abashed at the governor’s dinner-table, or in King William’s court, were it possible that his affairs should call him thither. But the only thing about him that could be fixed upon as remarkable, was his staff, which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought, that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself like a living serpent. This, of course must have been an ocular deception, assisted by the uncertain light. ” ‘Come Goodman Brown! ‘ cried his fellow-traveler, ‘this is a dull pace for the beginning of a journey.

Take my staff, if you are so soon weary. ‘” There can be no doubt that Goodman Brown had met an elderly version of himself in the dark wood: “I woke to find myself in a dark wood. ” The journey of 25 years in retrospect is to find oneself more confident of his surroundings and much more knowledgeable of world affairs and no longer the innocent and naive traveler of bygone days. In every sense it is the elderly version of himself that is his guide through life. The serpent staff is symbolic of acquired knowledge and wisdom.

For most people it is the crutch of life or whatever ones uses to manipulate other people to do their will. So the staff is symbolic to the crutch every human being takes possession of that help him and guides him through life. Not necessarily does wisdom have to be benign. Hawthorne would mention that the staff was a rod the owner formerly lent to the Egyptian magi (in the days of Moses). It is not that Goodman Brown lent the rod to the Egyptian magi but that evil lends it to whoever will further its cause. Hawthorne seems to be pointing out via reverse psychology that to depend upon oneself as a guide through life is demonic.

The staff symbolizing a lifetime of experiences which is used to forester confidence. Such a crutch is an icon or false god. This, meeting oneself in the dark wood, is not the way that Dantists commentators tend to interpret this verse in La Divina Commedia. Yet, when the reader reflects on Dante’s verse and reads further on into the first chapter of La Divina Commedia a younger version of Dante would have had to have met an elderly version of himself with a far greater understanding of the ways of the world than the younger Dante.

What Hawthorne seems to be suggesting with his allegorical story is that unlike Dante who’s guide led him through the Inferno and Purgatory Goodman Brown’s guide was the serpent staff which judged all people as being evil and not being what they seem to be on the outside. This gloomy vision of the world that blinded Goodman Brown to the reality of the goodness in people is what doomed him in the end. This is the version that Dante does not talk about when someone finds himself or herself in a dark wood. Virgil is of course Dante alter ego.

In a sense Virgil is the elderly Dante young Dante finds in the dark wood. It is after all the teachings of Virgil that caused Dante to be where he is. Virgil’s teaching were basically pagan and in a sense has made Dante into his own image and likeness. Just as Virgil guides Dante through the ceremonial ritual of the baptism of fire in the Infernal and Purgatorial realms so to does the elderly Goodman Brown guide his younger self through the Saturday festivities of the Boston night life, which Hawthorne allegorically likens it to a meeting of the coven in the forest, where everybody is an equal.

The meeting of the coven was to bring about the baptism of Goodman Brown into the secret mysteries of this fellowship of evil vices: “And there they stood, the only pair, as it seemed, who were yet hesitating on the verge of wickedness, in this dark world. A basin was hollowed, naturally, in the rock. Did it contain water, reddened by the lurid light? or was it blood? or, perchance, a liquid flame?

Herein did the Shape of Evil dip his hand, and prepared to lay the mark of baptism upon their foreheads, that they might be partakers of the mysteries of sin, more conscious of the secret guilt of others, both in deed and thought, than they could now be of their own. The husband cast one look at his pale wife, and Faith at him. What polluted wretches would the next glance show them to each other, shuddering alike at what they disclosed and what they saw! ” Like Dante who awakened in the dark wood so to does Goodman Brown wake up in the dark wood almost 25 years before, yet only one night after, his fateful meeting with his mature self.

But this first night away from his wife’s bed he had been baptized into a secret brotherhood of evil. As he staggers back into town Sunday morning his guilt for his wretched condition has to be more than he can bare. He takes comfort in knowing that these people are not fooling him for they are pious frauds. After all doesn’t he know their secret deeds and thoughts? After all did he not see them all at the coven last night? ‘It is not wise to go out drinking in thy own neighborhood less the neighbors learn who and what you really are.

If you are going to create havoc do it in someone else’s backyard. ‘ Hence Goodman Brown’s journey to Boston. Apparently Goodman Brown was aware of this wise advice. Coming home in the morning to a concerned and loving wife after a night of barhopping and cavorting with all kinds of vices one does not want to see the sweet smile of his wife’s face. After all he is the man of the house and who is she to question him? It is her job to maintain outward appearances and to alibi him to the outside world if he is too sick to go to church or to work.

Hawthorne could have picked no better archetypal setting for depicting the soul’s descent into hell. The ends of Goodman Brown’s days were not as happily met as Dante’s were. There is no doubt that Goodman Brown would go directly to the inferno that is the abode of his own making. There is of course much more implied by Hawthorne’s work then prudence allows me to go into. For example Goodman Brown may well have thought that he was the product of an ancestral and evil spirit seeing all of his ancestry were brutal in nature.

The entire account has Hawthorne suggesting that one can sell his soul, unknowingly, to the devil by deliberately entering into a pack with evil – thinking somehow he could escape the consequences of such a contract. In the beginning of the story he believed that he could “after this one night I’ll cling to Faith’s skirts and follow her into heaven”. The moment Goodman Brown set out on his journey with an evil purpose in mind he not only lost his religious faith but his wife, Faith. As if these two words were interlocked. “What thou shalt loose in Heaven shalt be loose on Earth, and what thou shalt bound in Heaven should be bound on Earth.

She never looked the same to him from the very first night he returned from his meeting. That seems to be the most sorrowful part of the bargain with his gaining the wisdom of the world. As Christ says in the New Testament, “what have you gain if you gain the whole world but lost your very soul? ” The word “Goodman,” in the name Goodman Brown, tells us that Nathaniel Hawthorne is more then suggesting that a “good man” can get so caught up, in becoming all that he can be, in the world that he looses his very soul and humanity in the process.