A highly respected philosopher, inventor, intellectual, and founding father, Benjamin Franklin once ardently stated “The way to see Faith is to shut the eye of Reason”. Encompassed in two of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s magnificent literary works “Young Goodman Brown” and “The Minister’s Black Veil”, the theme of the internal conflict between Faith and Reason is illustrated by Hawthorne’s characters. In these works, Hawthorne clearly demonstrates that the quest for Faith and the quest for Knowledge are often conflicting and that settling such turmoil is so blatantly necessary in order to carry out a spiritually enriching and intellectually wholesome lifetime.
Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”, is a tale about ”the Goodman” who embarked on a journey down a “dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest” into the expanses of his Faith in God and his.
Faith in society, exhibits the struggle of “the Goodman” on his quest to attain a counterbalance between truth, knowledge, and Faith Goodman made his way into the woods after departing with his dearest wife Faith, to meet with a “fellow traveler” who would accompany him and consistently encourage him to advance along the path into the darkest parts of the woods, However, the Goodman periodically stops and exclaims that they have gone “Too far! Too far!”, that he and his family are “a people of prayer, and good works to boot and abide no such wickedness”, and that “there is [his] wife, Faith.
. [who] would [have] her dearest little heart [broken].
. and [he’d] rather break [his] own” than to continue on the journey with the traveler into the woods, Contrary to the allegiance he had to his morals and to his dearest Faith, he was intrigued by the temptation of Knowledge presented to him by the traveler who was later recognized as “the Devil” by Goodman’s former Catechism teacher.
The traveler suggests that he should rest and if needed, give Goodman his “staff to help along” and then the traveler “threw [Goodman] the maple stick, and was as speedily out of sight as if he had vanished into the deepening gloom”. Wanting to pursue his craving for Knowledge, but not wanting to abandon his beloved Faith, Goodman persistently wrestles with what he sees as logical, and what he sees as moral. He comes across the “faces that would be seen the next day at the council board… [and those who] looked devoutly heavenward.. from the holiest pulpits in the land” which was an experience that was both eye opening but detrimental to the Goodmanr Having acquired the knowledge he lusted for so fervidly, he lost his Faith to the “wretched Fiend (Devil)” who “beheld his Faith trembling” and furthermore lost his.
Faith in humanity after seeing the faces of the people he thought he knew so thoroughly in the presence of the “Feind”. Goodman chose to endure the quest for knowledge but lost the Faith that was so sacred to him on that similar journey even after battling with his reason and his heart along the way. In Goodman’s case, it was the temptation of Knowledge that in the end defiled his relationship with Faith. When Goodman had lived his life and passed away, “they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom” due to the conflict between his Faith and his ardor for Knowledge that was never resolved, Mr. Hooper, the peculiar character in Hawthorne’s “The Minister’s Black Veil”, had “swathed about his forehead, and hanging down over his face, so low to be shaken by his breath. a black veil”.
The minister, who was a very honorable and reputable one among the people of Milford, is exposed in a disrespectful manner by his congregation through “A rumor of [this] unaccountable phenomenon set all the congregation astir”. Curiosity and the appetite for the definition of the veil haunted the people of the congregation, which went on to supersede the Faith in their minister and his actions which the congregation was assumed to uphold. The people of the congregation allowed their curiosity to get in the way of the faith that the minister, although his appearance has changed, was still the minister they know and love. The whole Village of Milford “talked of little else than Parson Hooper‘s black veil and the mystery concealed behind it” however, the “busybodies and impertinent people in the parish [didn’t venture] to put the plain question to Mr. Hooper”.
Additionally, Mr. Hooper struggled with his faith in humanity because he knew that all people wore an unseen veil that “involved his own spirit in the horror which it involved all others”. Much like the ending of “Young Goodman Brown”, Mr. Hooper, like the Goodman, lay on his death bed, unsettled and renounced as can bet Even at his death, the reverend of the town pleaded to have “the veil of eternity lifted [from Mr. Hooper‘s face]” Mr. Hooper, infuriated and disheartened with the people for losing their Faith in him, and disappointed in himself for losing his own Faith, prescribed those at his death bed to “tremble also at each othertn the mystery which [the veil] obscurely typifies, has made this piece of crape so awful”.
Once again, the struggle of Mr. Hooper and his parishioners to find the symmetry of knowledge and faith is ever so predominant. Enveloped in two of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s magnificent literary works “Young Goodman Brown” and “The Minister‘s Black Veil”, the theme of the internal antipathy between Faith and Reason is illustrated by a variety of Hawthorne’s characters. As the reader can see, Hawthorne evidently demonstrates that the quest for Faith and the quest for knowledge are often conflicting and that settling such turmoil is so extraordinarily necessary in order to carry out a spiritually enriching and intellectually wholesome lifetime.