Hawthorne\'s Characters: 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.

Category: English