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A Comparison of The Ministers Black Veil and the Birthmark Essay

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A Comparison of The Ministers Black Veil and the Birthmark


Both of these stories revolve around a lot of symbolism. These stories, since they really don't make a lot of sense on their own, force the reader to look deeper in an attempt to understand the ideas that Hawthorne tries to get across.

The first and most evident symbol is the faces of the people. Georgiana has the birthmark if the shape of a hand, and the black veil that Hooper wore. I think that Hawthorne chooses to focus on the peoples faces because a person"'"s face is pretty much the center of their being. The face is where a person shows the majority of their emotions, and it holds the brain, which well, is where everything starts at. So, a person"'"s face is very important.

Another prevalent symbol to me is the idea of sin. In The Ministers Black Veil Hooper just suddenly one day shows up to church wearing a veil. At first the people are sort of angered by it. People soon start to flock to his congregation to view the spectacle, and go so far as to test their '"'courage'"' by seeing who will go and talk to him. I think that the veil could represent sin. In The Ministers Black Veil Hooper was either trying to hide his sin from the people so that they could not judge him, which is god"'"s job, or maybe he was trying to protecting his self from the sins of the people. In the end of The Ministers Black Veil Hooper dies, and sees his congregation all wearing black veils, which would probably hint that maybe it represented the sin in all of us. In The Birthmark Georgiana"'"s birthmark could represent, as some religions believe, the original sin which is bestowed on all by the '"'hand'"' of god. But, unlike Hooper, Georgiana could not help her markings.

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...iana, almost perfect, is still mortal, and carries the burden of original sin. This is the puritan idea that every human is sinful.

The Birthmark is in the shape of a hand because it is the work of God, done by God's own hand and will.

In short, Alymer tries to play God by ridding Georgiana of her original sin, and make a perfect being. But no mortal can be perfect, and no mortal can not have original sin. Thus when the experiment works, Georgiana achieves perfection and can no longer be a mortal, thus she dies.

Moral of the story: You cannot improve on God's creation.

Alymer is a sinner because he tries to be god by trying to improve on God's creation. He is successful in improving georgiana, but is not successful in improving God's creation, because Georgiana can no longer live as a mortal, and she then dies - thus Alymer is unsuccessful.



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