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A Compare and Contrast for "Young Goodman Brown"

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A Compare and Contrast for "Young Goodman Brown"

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  • November 2007
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Cheating, lying, stealing, murder, and adultery. In today's world, these are all things that are very common occurrences in society. These are all sins. Sins that almost everyone commits, but is willing to try and "cover them up" in some shape or form. For most human beings committing a sin brings guilt along with it. In Nathaniel Hawthorn's short stories "Young Goodman Brown" and "The Minister's Black Veil", both the main characters Mr. Hooper and Goodman Brown carry guilt because of a sin that they have committed.

In "The Minister's Black Veil", the main character Mr. Hooper, who at first was a well liked minister throughout his town. Mr. Hooper had many good friends and followers and an assumed soon to be wife. At church he gave very good and meaningful sermons and was just a well respected person. All of that changed when he showed up to church one Sunday with a black veil on that covered up most of his face. "There was one thing remarkable in his appearance. Swathed about his forehead, and hanging down over his face, so low as to be shaken by his breath, Mr. Hooper had on a black veil." (Bedsford Introduction to Literature, P. 393.) The way people looked at him would never be the same.

The black veil on Mr. Hooper's face was a symbol for trying to cover up a sin or sins. Whether or not it is to cover up his or everyone else's is never told, but by him wearing this black veil caused him to be very secluded from his congregation and caused a lot of talk and gossip around the town. Even after years of wearing it, while lying on his death bed he still would not take it off. "Still veiled, they laid him in his coffin, and a veiled corpse they bore him to the grave" (p. 401) This just showed how strong Mr. Hooper felt about the veil and its significant meaning. That everyone sins and tries to but them but that sin will remain with them forever.

In Nathaniel Hawthorn's short story "Young Goodman Brown", the main character Goodman Brown also has guilt of a sin...