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Secret Evil in "the Minister's Black Veil" and "young Goodman Brown"

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's short stories "The Minister's Black Veil" and "Young Goodman Brown" are two stories about the truth of man's evil nature. "Young Goodman Brown" is a moral story which is told through the perversion of a common townsperson. Goodman Brown is a Puritan who lets his excessive pride in himself take over his faith in God and his trust to the community after he meets with the devil. "The Minister's Black Veil" is also a moral story. But it is told through the perception of a Puritan religious leader,Reverend Hooper, who is disgaced of his own sin and attemp to disguise it by wearing a black veil. In an ironic way, Parson Hooper and Goodman Brown are both wearing a veil of guilt to cover up their own secret evil. Through this veil, Hawthorn conveys to readers the message that explains how people should not look at the world, and the impefection of mankind and their sins.

Both stories are set in senventeenth century when sin and evil were greatly analyzed and feared. The townpeople, in their Puritan beliefs, were obsessed with the nature of sin and with finding ways to be rid of it altogether through purification of the soul. "At the time, the Puritans had made a society that are very much based on morality and religion,in which status came from having a high standing the church and a high moral reputation among town people (SparkNotes)". This religious way of life causes an excessive pride in both Parson Hooper and Goodman Brown and leads them to false perception to the society based on their believes. In "Young Goodman Brown", Goodman Brown comes from a low status family in the society, but he is proud of his father and grandfather's high morals and religious faith. He truly believes in the Puritan way and its ability to guide him along the righteous path. However, his pride of family and belief in religion totally disappears when he met the devil in forest. Upon entering the forest, it does not take long for the stranger to lure Brown in deeper causing him to abandon his former convictions. He refuses to go any farther. He says to the stranger confidently, "my mind is made up. Not another step will I budge on this errand". But his mind has fallen into a state of confusion that guilded him to take the devil's staff. Then he loses his faith later and obsessed with townspeople's secret evils. Similar to Goodman Brown, Hooper is so proud of himself to wear a black veil, which is worn only by woman whose spouse has passed on. He is also proud of what he is doing, "He entered with an almost noiseless step, bent his head mildly to the pews on each side, and bowed as he passed his oldest parishioner...". Even though people tell him to take of his veil and even gossip about him, he still refuses to do so because he strongly believes that the veil is important to him and it's a way of showing sins; he does not hide them. Hooper has so much pride in the veil because he wants to be a more powerful and forceful minister who also wants his congregation to realize that they were not the only ones that commit sins. The excessive prides of oneself in Parson Hooper and one of family in Goodman Brown have changed their views to the sociey they live in with their believes about secret sins.

Parson Hooper, the minister in "The Minister's Black Veil," and Goodman Brown commit a sin that no one can recognize. The veil symbolizes numerous hidden secrets that Parson Hooper and Goodman Brown have been hiding. The sin that Goodman Brown commits is the sin of worshipping the devil, and because of him doing this, he becomes marked for life with a veil that marks him with a hidden sin. The first sight of the veil not only confuses the congregation but scares them as well, "I don't like it...he has gone mad". The black veil eventually makes the people grow less fond of him, frightening them and making them suspicious of Mr. Hooper's reason for wearing the black veil. The only explanation to why Hooper wears the black veil is because he is a sinner. But Hooper doesn't say to the townspeople what sins he commits, because he has his own secret evils and each individual townsperson had a secret sin which no other person knew of except the individual himself, not sharing or telling anyone about it. By wearing the black veil, the minister realizes his fear that the people of his community are more obsessed with a sin which they believe is the reason he wears the veil. The community is sure the minister is hiding from his own sins, more than he is from theirs. In "Young Goodman Brown", Goodman Brown unconciously commits the sin of mistrusting people whom he is close to and believes in. He was supposed to learn that everyone is human and should be treated with compassion. Instead he learns that everyone is a sinner and forever treats people with

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