If all sins or wrongdoings were publicized, would we stop treating each other the same? In both short stories, “Young Goodman Brown” and “The Minister’s Black Veil”, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, both stories involve characters are witness secret sins occur, altering their perspective. In “Young Goodman Brown” Brown, goes on an expedition to his local forests, uncovering the reality of the secret sinners. In the “The Minister’s Black Veil” the minister wears an unexpected black veil to symbolize he had sinned, while his town creates an uproar while his town creates an uproar, refusing to admit they are sinners as well. While sin defines any immoral act committed, it can only be corrected if acknowledged.
Nature reflects the way a person feels, but can’t give them any guidance. In the beginning of the book, Hester Prynne is being shamed by the whole town, Hawthorne writes that Hester sees someone she knows walking along the edges of the forest, we later find out that the man she sees is Roger Chillingworth. Hawthorne portrays Chillingworth as evil, because he came from the forest, and in the book, nature is evil. Toward the middle of the book Hester was in the forest and she took her “A” off and also let her hair down, she grew very happy, thus causing the forest to become happy. Hawthorne is illustrating the fact that nature reflects our mood.
In Hawthorne’s short story, Young Goodman Brown’s journey in the forest is a lesson that, through the use of symbols, portrays the thought that all men are sinners at heart. The idea that faith being both his wife and his actual belief in religion cannot keep temptation away forever is made clear in the beginning of the story. In his colloquy with the devil, the goodman says “‘Faith kept me back a while,’ replied the young man, with tremor in his voice, caused by the sudden appearance of his companion, though not wholly unexpected” (Hawthorne 1). From this quote, it is evident that his wife Faith, being a symbol of his religious faith, did not want him to accompany the devil to the forest,
She implores him to stay for this night in particular, but he sadly informs her it must be this night. After he has met up with the devil, and he is journeying through the forest he wavers in his purpose. The devil, to reassure him, begins to tell him of all the previous Puritans ( some even his own family) that have walked this same trail before him. “He lets the Devil 's true statements about the mistreatment of Indians and Quakers prepare him to accept counterfeit evidence”(Levin, 693 ) It is easy to see why Goodman Brown would be wary of this commitment considering his strong Puritan neighbors and friends; however, he agrees to go through with the proposition. Once gathered at the meeting place, he begins to recognize many prominent men and women from his society performing lewd and unseemly acts.
The Loss of Spiritual Innocence as Seen through Imagery and Symbolism The theme of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short fictional story, “Young Goodman Brown” is the loss of spiritual innocence. Young Goodman Brown goes on an evening walk in the woods and meets the devil along the way. The devil shows Goodman Brown that all the people Brown deems to be spiritually strong, from his catechism teacher to the minister in his church, are imperfect people who have sin in their lives. Hawthorne uses religious symbolism and imagery to describe Goodman Brown’s fall from spiritual purity to spiritual misery. The experience can be seen the symbol and imagery of the path, the old man’s twisted staff and Goodman Brown’s wife Faith.
Hawthorne uses symbolism throughout the story to explore moral and spiritual issues taking the character young Goodman Brown on a journey from innocence and faith to the dark side of distrust and evil. The elder (the devil) who carries the staff could be considered the leader in the story as he takes Brown into the woods in an attempt to lead him astray or away from faith and innocence. Young Goodman Brown makes the personal choice to go into the woods, which is an individual decision with consequences. This action led to his fall even if it was helped by the devil. In the beginning of the story, Young Goodman Brown describes his father and grandfather as being religious and having high moral character which indicates how his society values the traits.
Puritans, like Goodman Brown, associated the forest as a symbol of evil and sin that had been inhabited by witches and devils. Goodman Brown enters the forest knowing of such evil, he states in the story “what if the devil himself should be at my very elbow” (Hawthorne 322). Goodman Brown sees the minister and Deacon Gookin as well as many other townspeople making their way into the dark forest towards the ceremony. At this time, Nathaniel Hawthorne is displaying that many people of all ranks in religious and governmental society are sinners despite their external appearance. He holds on to the thoughts that as long as Faith remains holy, he shall find it in himself to resist the temptations of evil, but when he sees the pink ribbons from Faith’s cap his Christian faith is weakened.
This is because the town is ruled by government and religion while the forest is a place where emotion takes over. Both characters can be themselves when in the forest; they are free there. “She thought of the dim forest, with its little dell of solitude, and love, and anguish, and the mossy tree-trunk, where, sitting hand in hand, they had mingled their sad and passionate talk with the melancholy murmur of the brook. How deeply had they known each other then!”(196). In the forest, they both get to know each other by talking and holding hands.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter, the forest symbolizes privacy, freedom and allows an opportunity for Hester to uncover her true identity. However, in Puritan Boston, the setting of the story, Hester is faced with humiliation and punishment on a daily basis. Hester is shunned for committing adultery, and having a child out of wedlock. In the forest, there is sunshine, and Hester is able to rip off the scarlet letter and literally, and figuratively ‘let her hair down.’ This escape allows Hester to be unconcerned with what the judgemental townspeople will think or say. “The stigma gone, Hester heaved a long, deep sigh, in which the burden of shame and anguish departed from her spirit,” (185).
There is a grey, blended area for one to live in that allows him/her to live peaceful but not ignorant. In “Young Goodman Brown,” Goodman Brown is naïve. At first, he is stuck on the idea that everyone is good but still chooses to meet with the devil in the forest out of curiosity. He knows that the devil is evil and a bad person, but feels as long as he clings to Faith once he gets home he will be safe. Goodman Brown encounters several people that he knows while on his walk in the
The short story “The Devil and Tom Walker” by Washington Irving is a classic dark romantic story. Although the story has many elements in it, symbolism is seen the most. The three main symbols are the Devil is a representation of temptations in life, the forest represents the bad side of life and the trees showing the lives of many men that have done bad. The first symbol is the Devil. The Devil in the story represents temptations.
Richard Wright starts his poem with the description of a scene in the woods. The adjectives that he used such as ‘grassy’, ‘scaly’, ‘sooty’, all help create a gloomy environment and give the audience a sense of ill omen. The introduction of the poem points out the existence of a ‘cut’, which detach the author from the scene, and I think this may relate to the reason why Coates used this poem as a start, as there are also some cuts that make Coates feel the difference between the world and him. Coates starts his book with ‘son’, so I assume that the first intention of him writing this book is probably not to publish or sell, but to give his son an impression of how the real world treats black people differently according to the color of their
Hester and Dimmesdale have a very unique love for eachother. Their love is reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet in the way that they are not able to pursue it. They are people who have been hardened and hurt by their past mistakes. They share that connection with each other unlike anyone else. Hester and Pearl go to meet up with Dimmesdale in the forest in complete effort to keep their relationship a complete secret.
Similar to the characters, the context determines what role the light or darkness plays. The Scarlet Letter 's first chapter ends with an admonition to "relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow" with "some sweet moral blossom." These opposites are found throughout the novel and often set the tone and define which side of good and bad develop the characters. Hester and Dimmesdale meet in the forest with a "gray expanse of cloud" and a narrow path hemmed in by the black and dense forest. The feelings of the lovers, weighed down by guilt, are reflected in the darkness of nature.