Flannery O'Connor stated in relation to Nathaniel Hawthorn: "I feel more of a kinship with him than any other American Writer." This kinship is well deserved when considering all the similarities between these two authors. Both authors use central literary symbols to strengthen the story and the meaning behind it. Along with similarities in tone and theme these authors differ greatly when it comes to the style of their writings. Despite all the differences it is the central literary symbol of the black veil and the wooden leg that tie these stories together much like the kinship felt between them authors. Hawthorn's "The Ministers black Veil" revolved entirely around the central literary symbol (the black veil over the minister's face). The black veil was the focus of the entire story, barely one paragraph went with out went with out the mention of the black veil. The veil is a direct symbol for the mask we use to cover up the secret sin that we all have. "
You [the minister] hide your face under the consciousness of secret sin." (398); the minister hides his face from the secret sin as we all do. The only difference is that the minister is hiding his "true" face under an actual veil, where as we hide our true face under a figurative veil keeping the true us from everyone including ourselves. As he was dying the minister cried that "on earth never" (400) shall he remove his veil as well as "
the eye of his creator, loathsomely treasuring up the secret of his sin;" (401). Both these statements make it apparent that the veil symbolizes secret sin that we all hide on earth, but can not be hidden from the eye of our creator.
Unlike "The Ministers black Veil", O'Connor's "Good Country people" did not focus heavily on the central literary symbol (Hulga's wooden leg). The wooden leg was brought up infrequently for a central literary symbol. It was not till the end of the story that focus was brought to Hulga's wooden leg. The does not directly symbolize anything...
Cited: Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "The Minister 's Black Veil." The Bedford
Introduction to Literature. 1836: 393-401. Bedford/ St.Martins 2005.
O 'Connor, Flannery. "Good Country People." The Bedford Introduction
To Literature. 1955:441-454. Bedford/St.Martins 2005.
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