Puritan Religion in Literature

In Jonathan Edwards‘ sermon, “Sinners in the hands of an Angry God,“ he lectures about the horrid sins of the people in his congregation, In the parable, “The Minister’s Black Veil,” Nathaniel Hawthorne exposes the hidden sin and hypocrisy of the villagers. While Hawthorne’s style may be characterized as melancholy and cynical, Jonathan Edwards challenges the reader’s understanding of Puritan ideals of religion by using imagery and other types of figurative language to create fear and guilt, as well as show the wrath of God.

Jonathan Edwards portrays a strong religious belief through his abundant use of metaphors Edwards informs his congregation that, “myour righteousness would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell. Than a spider‘s web would have to stop a falling rock”. This metaphor shows that the people’s sins have caused their righteousness to diminish Edwards also uses imagery to show the depth of God’s anger in the sermon, Edwards depicts an image of, ““black clouds of God’s wrath hanging directly over your headstand like a whirlwind, and you would be like the chaff on the summer threshing floor”.

By using this strong diction and imagery, Edward makes an impression that sweeps the congregation with awareness, as well as fear, These feelings cause the people to feel guilt over the sins they have committed, and ponder the consequences they will be subjected to. Hawthorne ues the veil to symbolize his main thoughts throughout the entirety of the parable.

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The villagers conjure up many ideas as to why Mr. Hooper was wearing the mysterious veil. They believed that he could be in mourning, or ashamed of a “ horrible crime”. When truly, Mr. Hooper was using the veil as a symbol. As Mr. Hooper is on his deathbed, he violently exclaims, “When a friend shows his innermost heart to his friend…when a man does not vainly shrink for the eye of his creator, loathsomely treasuring up the secret of his sin; then deem me a monster, for the symbol beneath, which I have lived and die! I look around me and lo!

Every visage a black veil”. In these words of Mr. Hooper, it is being stated that, metaphorically, everyone is wearing a black veil. This literally translates to mean that everyone has sins that they are hiding, and no one person should judge another because of it For the duration of his sermon, Jonathan Edwards connects with his congregation on a personal level. He warns each sinner that nothing could save them including, your bodily constitution, your care of your own life, and the means you see for your preservation avail you no more to keep you from falling,”  Edwards makes it seem as if he is individually speaking to each and every member of the church.

This technique that he has adopted takes his meaning and effectiveness far beyond that of Nathaniel Hawthorne in,“The Minister’s Black Veil,“ Hawthorne goes about a simplistic, more vague approach, only using one emblem, the veil, to represent his idea as a whole. Both the sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” and the parable, “ The Minister‘s Black Veil,“ move beyond the basic ideology of the Puritan religion. Jonathan Edwards pushes his truth in a very radical, oppressive way, Hawthorne, on the other hand, corroborated his notions in a more subtle way in comparison with Edwards. Ultimately, Jonathan Edwards’ conveyance of the idea that people are natural-born sinners destined for damnation is much more compelling than that of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

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Puritan Religion in Literature. (2023, Apr 20). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/beyond-the-basic-ideology-of-the-puritan-religion-in-edward-s-sinners-in-the-hands-of-an-angry-god-and-hawthorne-s-the-minister-s-black-veil/

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