Hawthorne on Human Evil: Black Veil and Brown

In society, people are criticized, punished, and despised for their indiVIdual chmces and flaws. In “The Minister‘s Black Veil” and “Young Goodman Brown”. Hawthorne portrays sins as an unavoidable part of human nature. What is sm? In the bible, sm is regarded as any transgression of, or any lack of conformity to the holy Will and nature of God. There is still evil that lurks in everyone‘s souls and human nature is bound to be flawed and imperfect. The portrayal of this unavoidable sin and evil is expressed through the nature of sin itself, through the main characters of Hawthorne’s stories.

and through the people and society surrounding the main characters. In Young Goodman Brown‘s character, sin was eventually shown as part of his nature. Young Goodman Brown‘s name itself had some significant symbolism. Young shows that he is innocent and has.

At first Young Goodman Brown seems to be innocent and have because he thought that everybody was good and didn‘t commit Sll’l, When somebody is sheltered in an envrronment where they only experience the good, they are bound to become CUI‘lOLIS, Young Goodman Brown was like a young child.

He became curious about the unknown eVil that he was taught about, Maybe he felt some excitement to explore the forbidden and that is why he felt he had to go on his Journey, which took him away from his wife. Faith, and his faith in God. This is seen in the beginning of the story when he says, “My love and my Faith.

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of all nights in the year. this one night must l tarry away from thee”. Faith is used in this line as a pun. It has two meanings. one his wife and the other faith itself. I believe that his innocence was lost when the dark man, symbolically the devil, told him that his father and grandfather also followed the same path, Young Goodman Brown was supposed to come from a good line of Christian descendants, but the devil was quick to reveal to him that his father and grandfather committed a sin when they “lashed the Quaker women [and] set fire to an Indian village”.

This is ironic because these acts were eVIl deeds done in the name of good Brown. therefore, can no longer truly distinguish between what actions or what person is a good Christian. Another event Where he faced reality was when he saw his Catechism teacher going to the ceremony. He was devastated especially because she was his teacher in his youth, and she still was his moral and spiritual adwsor afterwards. He couldn’t face the reality that pious and religious people in his own society do commit sin. Young Goodman Brown did not realize that while he was questioning her faith because she was talking to the devil. he should also be questioning his own faith since he was also doing the same. After witnessing this, he still believes that he is different from the rest. He doesn’t believe that his faith could be lost, therefore, he continues on the “dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest” and goes deeper and deeper towards evil and farther away from his home and beliefs.

When he arrives at the ceremony, he was like Adam, He was tempted with the forbidden fruit, When he was there, he saw all of his townspeople engaged in a satanic ritual of some sort . his Faith included. This is the moment at which he loses his faith totally and it can be seen in the story when “something fluttered lightly 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 is but a name’”. This is also when he takes the devil‘s snakelike staff. which causes him to seem to “fly along the forest-path”. This image is similar to Adam and Eve being led of Eden just as Young Goodman Brown is being led out of his faith by the staff. At the end of the ceremony, he finds himself alone not knowing whether or not Faith had kept her faith and resisted the devil.

Being alone at the end leads him to believe that he is alone in his faith, Whether or not he resisted the eViI was not important. His faith was tested and he drew deeper and deeper into evil, which shows that there must have been some evn in him that lured him there. The most relevant and important aspect was when Young Goodman Brown became “a stern, a sad. a darkly meditative. a distrustful, if not a desperate man”. His reaction to the outcome of the event expresses that he realized Within himself and Within everybody else lurks an eVII that sometimes is not recognizable or realized. Whether or not he wakes up from a dream or whether it really happened, he becomes disillusioned and distant from society. He judges the rest of the people of the town like they were all evil. By judging them, he too is committing a sin. He finally realizes that in everybody even the people that seem the most holy has some evil in him or her. This is why he is stern and distant and dies lonely. He is no longer innocent and young.

He saw what people could be from his experience in the woods and from that day he knew the true evil that everybody had. No matter What, everyone carries the burden of evil. Minister Hooper also followed the same fate. In the “Minster‘s Black Veil”, he also realizes that sin is pan of human nature. He too, experiences this Within himself. He wears the black veil acknowledging that he has sinned. We know this because his veil represents a hidden aspect of himself and to the people. In the context of this line said by one of the parishioner, “that the minister and the maiden’s spirit were walking hand in hand'” it is assumed by the reader that the minister’s hidden aspect had a correlation With this woman. Also since she was the only one that could see under his veil shows that she could have been part of the sin. Being a minister, his actions and perception are supposed to set a good example.

This is expected by his parishioners, especially after they see him wear his veil and say “I don‘t like it. he has changed himself into something awful, only by hiding his face”. l think Hooper wears the veil to show the congregation that no one is perfect. By wearing it he, the minister, is admitting that even he has some evil or sin in him. Everybody has sins, which they hide, and it is hypocrisy to hide those sins, because God can still see them. In the followmg description, it can be noticed that Hawthorne continues to show the lear of sin and also now the sm of the Nature. “At that instant, catching a glimpse of his figure in the looking glass, the black veil involved his own spirit in the horror with which overwhelmed all others, His frame shuddered. his lips grew white, and he spilled the un-tasted Wine upon the carpet and rushed forth into the darkness. For the Earth, too, had on her Black Veil.

This context shows that even Hooper fears his own sin. The reflection on the glass reflected his image and his sin. which makes him tremble and drop the glass. Nature or the earth I think is a symbol of everything unexplainable, and since nobody in the village knew or wanted to admit what the black veil symbolized, Mr. Hooper running into nature’s darkness is symbolic of the darkness in the human soul. I think Minister Hooper also wears the veil to be like a Christrlike figure. The veil shows the townspeople the concept of a secret sin and it is a veil on everyone‘s life. Hooper wears the dark cloth on for so many years because he has come to the realization that each secret sin is a veil that can never be lifted from anyone‘s life until the day of his or her death. “There is an hour to come, when all of us shall cast aside our veils. Take it not amiss, beloved friend, if I wear this piece of crepe till then”. In this quote. the minister expresses the feeling that while each human reSIdes on this earth, a veil embeds his or her face.

Hooper has taken a vow. and in doing so has made a sacrifice of playing the part of a mirror to the populace around him. He reflects the conscious and well being of each person’s individual soul. He was taking on the sins of the society acting like Christ. The veil cannot be lifted till the freedom of truth can be observed. In my perspective. human nature follows patterns of a search for evil and a draw toward sin that the symbolic veil shows through its attraction to pain and suffering. The society and people around the main characters also express sin as pait of human nature. In “Young Goodman Brown”. the people at the ceremony showed that even the most admired or respected were srnful. Characters such as Goody Cloyse. Deacon Gookin, and the Minister were leaders of the town of Salem. They are believed to be the most pious people of their community and are revered by all of their righteous in lite. but even they were at the ceremony.

This was the reason why Brown is so disturbed by it. His utopia was broken. In “The Minister‘s Black Veil”. I believe the veil also represented the sins of the minister‘s parishioners. I think he was trying to make his parishioners realize the heavy impact of their sins. He was wearing on the outside what he feels his parishioners was wearing on the inside. Hooper wore his veil allowing his flaws to be seen and wore it as a way to repent for his sins. but the parishioners were hiding their flaws in the inside. They did not want to admit that they had flaws and could sin. They also did not want others to see their sins, but God sees everything. Therefore, their attempt to hide it by not shoWing it is the same thing Hooper is doing; he iust chooses to reveal It His parishioners were scared and easily judged his veil as something evil, An elder woman says, “‘I don’t like it.

He has changed himself into something awful only by hiding his face”‘(1284) and others cry, “‘Our parson is gorng mad!”‘. His last words showed a direct connection of how the other parishioners had evrl in them too. “ ‘Why do you tremble at me alone? Tremble at each other! Have men avoided me, and women shown no pity, and children screamed and fled, only for my black veil?”‘. Through both stories. Hawthorne shows that sin is part of human nature and that everyone harbors their own secret sin within their own heart. By the nature of sin itself. through the main character, and by the people around them, sin is unavoidable. It doesn’t matter whether people seek evil or whether it is accepted. What matters is the acknowledgement of knowing that evil and sin presides in everybody‘s soul. Ewl and good is dealt with everyday Nobody ‘5 without sin and the acceptance of others and ourselves to be that way Is not Ideal. Sln Is part 01 human nature.

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Hawthorne on Human Evil: Black Veil and Brown. (2023, Apr 20). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/evil-as-a-part-of-human-nature-in-the-minister-s-black-veil-and-young-goodman-brown-by-nathaniel-hawthorne/

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