Nathaniel Hawthorne

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade October 2001

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December 21, 2000         Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist from the nineteenth century, who was very concerned with the sins and morals of human beings. He was born in July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts and came from puritan descendents that emigrated from England. He lived during the "Second Awakening", which was an era of religious rebirth. During this period of time, the people began having "revival meetings" and "religious activities". Congregationalists, which were early churches based on Puritan beliefs, established themselves with intentions to dominate for years to come. Hawthorne was opposed to this religious fever. He believed puritan colonists were hypocritical. In the story called "Young Goodman Brown", Hawthorne attacks and mocks the rising era of religious eagerness occurring during the time he lived. (Moss 423-425)         Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" is a story about a puritan man who loses his faith on human society after he thinks he sees his wife and the most pious affiliates from his town joining in a meeting with evil spirits.

(Wilson) This sudden realization leaves Brown terrified and doubtful. Jac Tharpe writes in his book called Nathaniel Hawthorne: Identity and Knowledge, "Man is indeed appalled by self awareness and by self- knowledge." He is trying to say that a person is frightened when he becomes conscious of what is really going on in his surroundings. Brown is blinded by his faith, a faith that he depends on. When he decides to go on his one night journey, he leaves his faith, his blindfold, behind and comes to an understanding that faith has been cheating him all along. He blames everyone else for letting him be ignorant and naïve. Jac Tharpe believes that Hawthorne went through the same realization. His descendents are supposedly Puritans, so why did they kill all those people...



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