Nathaniel Hawthorne: Innocence Lost Essay

1959 Words Mar 30th, 2005 8 Pages
Innocence Lost

My Kinsman, Major Molineux and Young Goodman Brown present Nathaniel Hawthorne's belief in the universality of sin. These works provide numerous perspectives into the nature of the human condition and the individual's role within it. Hawthorne fictionalizes a world where communion with man is essential for spiritual satisfaction. The main characters of these stories face moral dilemmas through their pursuit of human communion. Whether the problems are moral, psychological, or both, Hawthorne insists that the individual must come to affirm a tie with the procession of life, must come to achieve some sense of brotherhood of man. In order to commune with mankind, one has to give up a secure, ordered and innocent world.
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On they went, like fiends that throng in mockery round some dead potentate, might no more, but majestic in his agony. On they went, in counterfeited pomp, in senseless uproar, in frenzied merriment, trampling all on an old man's heart." (Hawthorne, pp.1185)

The crowd does not seem welcoming to Robin at first. Molineux, as a figure of authority does not last long in a community reveling in their own imperfections. However the justification of the crowd is the communion. This man is no better than they. Participation is mandatory or alienation is inevitable. It is an interesting idea to associate sin with communion. Yet, it is life affirming. It supports Christian notions of original sin. Humans are all mortal and thus should act accordingly by accepting all walks of life as sinners while on earth. It is more profound because it does not simply address notions of right or wrong but fundamental ideas of humanity. There is happiness in sin. However, affirmation of the brotherhood of mankind encompasses all the depravity that marks mortal nature. The Dark figure that plagues Goodman Brown with unholy proclamations pronounces the mystery of the human condition. "Depending upon one another's hearts, ye had still hoped, that virtue were not all a dream. Now are ye undeceived! Evil is the nature of mankind. Evil must be your only happiness. Welcome, again my children, to the communion of your race!" (Hawthorne, pp.1206) This

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