Reafe Anderson english paper 2-2 - ANDERSON 1 Reafe...

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ANDERSON 1Reafe Anderson Professor TruffinAmerican Literature Eng-203November 15, 2014Young Goodman Brown & The Birthmark themes How can we define a situation where the pursuit for perfection is placed above the well-being and self-worth of the other individual? Should we inevitably embrace or flee from our doubts about faith? In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short stories, “The Birthmark” and “Young Goodman Brown,” he pervades multiple themes of morality in order to distinguish his own values with respect to sin, living a ‘pure’ life, and human imperfection. Utilizing the male characters Aylmer and Goodman Brown, he creates situations where they are challenged morally in order to lead them to realizations about human flaw (McCabe). Ultimately, their greediness in decision making causes things to tumble down and end up not coming together as planned. Hawthorne creates two respectively different scenarios in “The Birthmark” and “Young Goodman Brown” in which the two husbands makes decisions that not only benefit their wishes, but also put their significant other into a world of despair and darkness due to the consequencesof their flawed decisions.Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American writer born in Salem, Massachusetts. He grew up in an area of New England that was especially influenced by Puritanism. In fact, his own ancestors had been Puritans, one of whom had been involved in the Salem Witch Trials. This action in itself troubled Hawthorne and brought the question of what was morally right and wrong, good and bad conduct, and sinful and not sinful. Thus, many of his writings are often dark and gloomy and delved deep into the matters that tugged at the strings of his soul: relationships meaningful and pure under the eyes of God and matrimonial actions that are faithfully and morally pleasing. Drawing from his own grim look on Puritan
ANDERSON 2legacy, readers can judge Nathaniel Hawthorne’s personality at various titles: judgemental, stern, negative, and/or condemnatory (“Nathaniel Hawthorne - Biography”). To gain a glimpse into his personalview of the hypocrisy of Puritan beliefs, Hawthorne creates a character named Goodman Brown in “Young Goodman Brown,” who returns home from a night trip in the woods away from his wife, Faith, taking on a newfound scrutinizing, disparaging look at the ‘devoutly religious’ people around him: “When the minister spoke from the pulpit with power and fervid eloquence, and, with his hand on the open Bible, of the sacred truths of our religion, and of saint-like lives and triumphant deaths, and of future bliss or misery unutterable, then did Goodman Brown turn pale, dreading lest the roof should thunder down upon the gray blasphemer and his hearers” (Hawthorne).

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