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Essay/Term paper: Hawthorne's pride of intellect

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Expository Essays

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Hawthorns Pride of Intellect


Many of Hawthorne's characters wrap themselves in a pride of intellect. The characters
become victims of their pride and consequently suffer. Goodman Brown, from "Young Goodman
Brown" and Hooper, from "The Minister's Black Veil" are two characters that suffer from a pride
of intellect. Their pride causes them similar problems and they end up living similar lives, although
they came from different backgrounds.
Hooper and Goodman Brown both become isolated from society. Hooper had a
revelation, and he feels that he truly understands human nature and sin. However, he believes that
he is above everybody else because he has this understanding. This is what causes the major
separation between Hooper and society. After Hooper dawns the veil he can no longer function or
act as a normal person, because of this feeling of superiority. His perception of an ultimate human
isolation leaves him the man most isolated in what Hawthorne describes as that saddest of all
prisons, his own heart . . . "(The Minister's Black Veil,228). The veil affects all parts of his life,
his fiance leaves him and he can no longer relate to his congregation the same way. "As a result of
wearing the veil, Hooper becomes a man apart, isolated from love and sympathy, suspected and
even feared by his congregation"(Minister's Black Veil, 228). Goodman Brown suffers the same
fate because he also has a feeling of superiority over the rest of the village. He attains this feeling
after he sees all the people that he though were good and pure participating in satanic rituals in the
forest. He looses all faith in the community and feels as though he is above them because he was
able to resist the devil. The lack or trust trusting that Goodman Brown had separated him from the
community because he was a strong Puritan and felt as though he could not associate devil
worshipers. "Brown, despairing and embittered, belongs neither to the Devil's party nor to the only
other life-sustaining cause he knows--that of the Puritan faith and the Puritan
community"(Levy,119).
Hooper and Goodman Brown's pride of intellect cause them to loose a loved one and their
kind and loving nature. Hooper drives his fiance Elizabeth away by wearing the veil. Elizabeth
sees how Hooper is separating himself and it scares her away from their purposed marriage.
"Hooper's fiancee, seems at first unawed by the veil. To her it is merely a cloth that hides the face
she most delights to see. But, like a sudden twilight in the air, Elizabeth suddenly senses the
unapproachable inner isolation of the man who wears it, and its' terrors fall upon her, too"(The
Minister's Black Veil,228). As a result of Hooper pride, he looses his loving and kind nature.
"Hooper is shunned and even feared by the others in their times of health and happiness"(The
Minister's Black Veil,228). He concentrates so much on the negative aspects of people that he
refuses to see the good in them. "He makes the dark side of people the whole truth of human
existence. His own kind and loving nature is lost for all"(The Minister's Black Veil,228).
Goodman Brown also looses someone very close to him. He separates himself from his wife
Faith. This is a result of Goodman Brown's pride. He felt so strongly that he was the only
innocent person that he could not trust anybody else including Faith, his apparently religiously
devote wife. When Goodman Brown saw Faith in the forest (Hawthorne, 178) she became just
like the other townsman. "He now knows that Faith's voice has been mingled with the other
familiar tones, heard daily at Salem village"(Levy,118). Goodman Brown's loving nature is also
lost due to his pride. He becomes separates himself so much that he can no longer hold a loving
relationship with Faith like he did early in the story(Hawthorne,165).
Hooper from "The Minister's Black Veil" and Goodman Brown from "Young Goodman
Brown" both suffer similar fates from their pride of intellect. It caused them to be drastically
separated from society, and to loose loved ones and their loving nature. Their pride of intellect
changed their whole lives. It can be seen as a cloak that the characters try to wrap themselves in to
escape human nature and mankind. It is obvious that the characters did not consider or were not
aware of the penalties of their intellectual pride.
 

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