Essay on The Dichotomy of Self Reliance and Conformity

1155 Words May 26th, 2013 5 Pages
The Dichotomy of Self Reliance and Conformity

The late 18th Century in American history was dominated by an era of emotional and individualistic values of oneself, and a powerful sense of limitless possibilities. This was the Romanticism Period. An incredible number of miraculous masterpieces were contrived during this period of enlightenment, including Nathaniel Hawthorne’s dramatically thematic and ambiguous short story, “Young Goodman Brown”, as well as Ralph Waldo Emerson’s intriguingly influential and uplifting essay, “Self-Reliance”. Hawthorne’s writing aspires to implicate theories and themes about the reality of the world we live in and to illustrate our individual limitations through the art of symbolism and irony. Emerson uses
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Notwithstanding Hawthorne’s Dark Romantic qualities, he does appear to embody some of the ideals and principals Transcendentalists, such as Emerson, abide by. Emerson, bearing an optimistic view of life and human nature, believed in promoting peace in the world by encouraging people to get in touch with their true self and tended to see things in either black or white.
In the beginning of “Young Goodman Brown”, the inexperienced character Goodman Brown, who shares Emerson’s vision of seeing people in black and white, presumes that everyone in his community is either good or bad. The similarity of beliefs between Hawthorne’s character, Goodman Brown and Emerson’s ideology, embraces Hawthorne’s implication of how inaccurate a person’s perception may be and how things are not always as they appear.
Although Goodman Brown held his family members in high regard, claiming, “my father never went into the woods on such an errand, nor his father before him”, he becomes flustered when the elder traveler, who accompanied him in his sinful journey through the woods, replies, “I have been as well acquainted with your family as with ever a one among the Puritans;” reassuring Goodman Brown that his father and grandfather were not as innocent as he so robustly assumed. (102). Goodman Brown, being the innocent and gullible individual that he is, races to the conclusion that everyone is now evil,

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