“The Minister’s Black Veil” and “Young Goodman Brown” are short stories written by American writer Hawthorne Nathaniel. The two stories took place in the Puritan New England in the 17th century. Hawthorne in his work addressed all the Puritan/Calvinist believes, which advocated for the existence of humanity in a depravity state where all those who were born in a grace state were exempted. Both stories “The Minister’s Black Veil” and “Young Goodman Brown” fit into American dark romanticism. These two stories show how the studies of Hawthorne of evil coincided so much with his religion studies, especially the Puritanism, which was highly practiced by all his ancestors in Salem in the 17th century.
Romanticism was an intellectual artistic movement, which was known to have begun in the late 18th century, and it emphasized the expression of an individual, an emotion over reason, and a rebellion against the social conventions and the established rule (Bell 77). In romanticism, there is the belief that all the heroes have a reason or cause to die, all men are good, and the romantics have the strong belief that they are able to make their own choices, which can help in determining their destinies. The romantics always emphasized the importance of nature and all primal feelings, the horror and the apprehension, which was felt by man as he approached the sublimes (Berlin 102). This was a result of the emerging industrial revolution, which had led to the shifting of the life from the serene countryside that was very peaceful towards the chaotic cities that led to the transformation of the natural order of man. Nature was appreciated because of its ability to help the urban person to be able to find his/her true and real identity.
Importance of Emotion/Imagination
Human emotions were highly praised in romanticism above everything else. The emphasis on emotions had widely spread to the music, which had been created in that romantic period. Emotion played a very important role in the romantic period. In “Young Goodman Brown”, emotion is seen when Goodman Brown witnessed the deacon and the minister riding into the wilderness where he reacted to them as he got hold of a tree and was ready to sink into the ground because of his overburdened heart. Each and every person who passed by him also gave the illustration of another individual leaving all the confines of the society just like Goodman Brown did as in his reaction he was also journeying in the same wilderness as they were journeying. Emotion is also seen when Goodman is leaving his wife Faith. He is still not willing to leave her although he still makes the decision to go, showing how open his feelings were (Poe 333-335).
In “The Minister’s Black Veil”, a strong emotion is brought out by Elizabeth who was engaged to Mr. Hooper as she got repelled by the decision he made into wearing the veil (Hawthorne 272). The black veil on Mr. Hooper according to him made him a very efficient minister, which made him sympathize with all the dark affections that are the dark feelings like fear, remorse, and guilt (Hawthorne 273). The black veil enabled him to be able to come to terms with and to understand all those feelings. His decision to put on the veil brought out different emotions from the congregation.
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Non-Rational Side of Human Nature
The non-rational side of the human nature is brought up in the “Young Goodman Brown” story where the author brought out the darker side of the human nature in all the characters in the story. Man is termed to be inherently sinful and very evil and the writer explores all the effects of all the conflicts between the evil and the good as well as the effects of sin.
In “The Minister’s Black Veil”, the non-rational side of human nature is brought out in the story when the writer revealed the foolish nature of humans. This is evident from the story where the man with the veil died all alone, sacrificing all he had for his people as the black veil had separated him from the world, even from the woman’s love and ended up keeping him in a sad prison of his own heart. This was because he connected with the people on a better level while the people on the other hand recognized the dark veil covering his face to be a symbol of sin, which brought the man to a bittersweet end (Hawthorne 288-289). This deep symbolism is a form of dark romanticism as the black veil was very scary to the people and it made people want to run away from Mr. Hooper (Hawthorne 285).
Interest in the Bizarre, Supernatural, and Gothic
The romantics strongly believed in the supernatural where their interests were also included in all of their works. Gothic fiction also came up as an element of romanticism. This was the fascination with the unreal and mysterious things, which led to the gothic romance development. Supernatural elements can be found in “The Minister’s Black Veil” and in the “Young Goodman Brown”. In “The Minister’s Black Veil”, the writer used the black veil in the story as a show of his attitude towards human pride and how he treats pride as being evil (Hawthorne 379). The wearing of the veil by Mr. Hooper is a way of separating himself from the rest of the world although no one understood his reasons for putting on the veil. The gothic element in this story is represented by the black veil as it creates an unsettling effect representing alienation and a separation from the world.
The gothic element in “Young Goodman Brown” is the forest, which is used to create a question where Goodman had to make the choice to leave behind his wife Faith, his moral code, and his religious faith behind and move towards the evil. The mysterious man in the forest can be termed to be the temptations that people come across in their day–to-day lives. In his journey through the forest, it was very clear that Goodman thought of the people walking along with the mysterious man as moral and kind, but he was also shocked to find that his wife was also among the people in the group. Another gothic element in the story is the stuff, which became a serpent, showing a flawed human nature. Hawthorne linked the story to the Salem Witch trials (Graham 29).
Focus on the Frightening and Mysterious Aspects of Life
Hawthorne’s word choices added to the gloomy tone of the “Minister’s Veil” as the reader had to interpret the grave mystery, which lied behind the dark veil. This mystery of the black veil in the story played a very important role in the dark romanticism as the townspeople were not able to know what the veil symbolized as the writer depicted the veil as “His gloomy shade before him” (Hawthorne 283). The mysterious mood is brought out by the phrase "It was tinged, rather more darkly than usual, with the gentle gloom of Mr. Hooper's temperament" (Hawthorne 282), which showed the mysterious moods of Mr. Hooper and the sermons to the people. The veil appeared to be very disturbing to the town’s people as it deeply suggested a sinful mood and it caused confusion and created a lot of fear to the congregation. The veil showed how the minister hid his sins behind the dark cloth, showing that he had secrets that he would take even to death. The use of the veil in the story makes the story very mysterious.
In the “Young Goodman Brown”, there are also surroundings, which are very dark and gloomy and include the forests that are described to be laughing like the demons, creating a very frightening atmosphere. The natural world is viewed as a place, which is cruel, mysterious, dark, decaying, and full of dark forests. The definition of nature in this story was made up of dark vocabulary descriptions about the forests that Goodman Brown was going into: “He had taken a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to led the narrow path creep through, and closed immediately behind” (Hawthorne 289)
Dark and Gloomy Setting
The setting in the two stories provides a very good backdrop for the exploration of sin, morality, and repentance as they were stories of the 18th century Puritan New England. In both stories, there is a very clear resemblance that the two stories have a very dark and gloomy setting as they could be easily interpreted as from being in the same place or town, which is opposed to sin and religion. The surroundings and atmosphere give a dark touch to the stories. In “The Minister’s Black Veil”, story mainly focused on the congregation reaction to the black veil when Hawthorne used all their reactions as a Puritan Image critique of the original sin (Hawthorne 374). He used the veil to represent the inherent sinful nature of people. The main character of the story is a person who is deeply tormented by his sin. In “Young Goodman Brown”, the main character is a man who is lured to sin on behalf of the devil. Both main characters of the two stories do not give into evil despite the dark and gloomy setting and despite them having experiences brought about by the powerful prevalence of evil.
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We provide direct communication between you and the assigned writer, which is highly encouraged
The only thing that is left for you to do is click the “Download a File” button so that you can finally get your hands on your final paper.
Conflict of Good and Evil
In the two stories, there is a conflict of good and evil as sin plays an important role in the central idea of the stories. This is because most religious communities strongly believe in the repentance of sin, but Hawthorne ironically ridicules those people, despite being one of them. This is because the people hid their sins in black veils, showing that everyone is a sinner even if not all people are religious as there are also good-hearted people as shown in “The Minister’s Black Veil”. Sin makes people very scared. In “Young Goodman Brown”, Goodman sees the people of the whole town in the forest committing blasphemy through the worshiping of the devil, which, according to him, was going against the belief that the human psychology also includes an amount of evil and only having a strong faith can resist the temptations.
Goodman Brown kept his faith and he was victorious at long last over his evil side while Mr. Hooper from “The Minister’s Black Veil” lived a seclusion life and kept on repenting so as to be able to keep himself away from the horrible sin. This is a clear indication that humans in most cases are victorious by not being influenced by the evil completely and the conflict of evil in the both stories is resolved. The encounter that Goodman Brown had with the devil including the battle he had with the evil, which was inside him, is a good example of dark Romance in the story. Goodman Brown had very strong conflicts within himself about whether he was to take or not take the journey. The devil also challenged Goodman Brown by going on the same journey he was, which gave Goodman the self-conflict as to how he was going to handle and overcome the obstacle.
In conclusion, the two stories “The Minister’s Black Veil” and “Young Goodman Brown” show dark American isolated realism of ethics with the very long descriptions and the constant use of the Puritan language, which shows how the two stories are similar. Both stories have the strong realization of the prevalence of sin and the need for the humans to be determined so as to be able to overcome all the temptations, which are brought about by sin and evil. The surrounding settings and the characters of the stories are determined to overcome the temptations and are victorious in the end. This means that there is the strong belief that all men can be good and that the choices they make can greatly change their own destiny.
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