Major Paper #1 - Lau 1 Brian Lau English 111 V Curtis...

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Lau 1 Brian Lau English 111 V Curtis Hisayasu 4/23/07 A New Kind of Stranger In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “My Kinsman, Major Molineux” Robin is a country- bred young lad who travels to a little metropolis of a New England colony with the dream of attaining social significance in the world through his kinsman, Major Molineux, who is a reputable official. Understanding Georg Simmel’s concept of a stranger can help us understand the choices that Robin makes. When Robin first enters the colony, he does not have a connection with anybody except for Major Molineux which makes him the “stranger.” Robin is the “stranger” and his experiences teach us that all strangers will at some point in their lives make a choice on whether or not they will stay a stranger. Hawthorne claims that being a stranger in the city has its advantages and disadvantages. Georg Simmel’s stranger incorporates several kinds of traits. The first of which defines a stranger as someone who incorporates both “a state of detachment from every given point in space” (184) and “the conceptual opposite of attachment to any point” (184). He also defines it as “the man who comes today and stays tomorrow…he has not quite gotten over the freedom of coming and going” (185). Simply said, a stranger is one who does not have any ties with anything or anybody. This stranger can go anywhere without being “attached.” Simmel focuses on the aspect that a stranger is near in location, but far in intimacy. Secondly, the stranger has the attribute of “mobility.” Simmel states that “The purely mobile person comes incidentally into contact with every single element but it is not bound up organically, through established ties of kinship, locality, or occupation, with any single one” (186). This means that the mobile person is in contact
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Lau 2 with everyone, but once again, he does not have any ties with anybody. The third trait is the characteristic of objectivity. “The objective man is not bound by ties which could prejudice his perception, his understanding, and his assessment of data” (186). With this said, the stranger has no influences that affect his decision-making. Robin starts out as the stranger but he does not know it because his only
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Major Paper #1 - Lau 1 Brian Lau English 111 V Curtis...

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