Nathaniel Hawthorne And The Hypocrisy Of Human Soc

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Nathaniel Hawthorne and the Hypocrisy of Human Society No one is exactly the same person in every situation. How one talks to his friends can be drastically different from how he talks to a client or kindergartener or police officer. Such adjustments in behavior are normal and accepted in our human society. But what happens when one goes beyond trivial adjustments, when one assumes personalities so divergent in different situations that he loses his true identity? The author Nathaniel Hawthorne explores this possibility in his literary works. In his short story “Young Goodman Brown,” a man forever gives up his faith after his sinful dealings with the Devil. He hides his wrongdoing and beings to see evil and deviltry in all humans; he becomes an actor, losing his genuine, honest self and becoming untrusting towards all. The results of his sin are paralleled in Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter; the Puritan minister Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale commits the sin of adultery, yet continues to live his life in a position of revered holiness. Dimmesdale loses himself in this falsehood, forgetting who he truly is, and assumes two distinct identities: one while in the public eye and another while in privacy. Yet Nathaniel Hawthorne does not paint an entirely miserable portrait of humans. The Scarlet Letter features the character Hester Prynne, a woman who also sins. But unlike Goodman Brown and Mr. Dimmesdale, her sin is discovered by her community. Resultantly, she becomes an outcast from society, and this allows her to think for herself and remain an individual, avoiding the dreadful trap of hypocrisy and lies that emerge from hidden sin. Throughout Hawthorne’s literary works, members of society assume their community’s beliefs and values in the public eye, yet utilize entirely deviating, individual moral codes in privacy. Nathaniel Hawthorne reveals this hypocritical aspect
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